The global Mwana Team

Our founders

With a lifelong love for helping children and a vision for making a difference in the lives of vulnerable families, Montréal native Cheryl Walker dreamed of working in African communities, giving tirelessly of herself for the good of others. She married a Congolese man, Lambert Laki-Laka, and soon after they started their family. When Lambert got a job offer for a company in Congo in 2004, they hardly hesitated. They sold the house they had just built and moved to Pointe-Noire with their three young boys. They figured life is short and they didn't want to let fear stop them from making a difference.

 Cheryl and Lambert Laki-Laka at the Mwana Refuge

Cheryl and Lambert Laki-Laka at the Mwana Refuge

Their initial move to Congo was a contrast between utter beauty and extreme poverty; it was especially difficult for Cheryl to see so much suffering. With total culture shock and facing sickness, isolation and one challenge after another, the family returned to Canada while Cheryl was pregnant with their fourth child.

Back in Canada, both Cheryl and Lambert started noticing their heartstrings pulling… They couldn't go on and live their lives in the comfort of Canada and turn their backs on what they had seen in Congo. A new sense of purpose was taking root.

With a conviction that their mission was to see the Republic of Congo a better place for abandoned and vulnerable children, the Laki-Lakas met with government officials and obtained authorization letters from them to function as a charity organization. With a renewed sense of purpose and direction, they attracted a great team and became a registered charity in Canada that year. The organization's areas of focus narrowed to concentrate primarily on orphaned children and vulnerable women, and in June 2014 Mwana Villages opened its first Mwana Refuge.

Board of Directors



Global Volunteer Teams


Lambert S. Laki-Laka, National Coordinator | Clault-Aymar Titi-Levis, legal advisor representative | Nathalie Piton, Mwana Home Volunteer and Training Coordinator | Cecile Dash, Foreign Nationals Coordinator


Lambert J. Laki-Laka, Co-Founder | Veronica Schami | Sharon Nswana | Bill Altimas | Jennifer Debrecen | Gurvinder Chohan


Board of Influencers: Ashley Brigham | Jenny and Turner Burton | Paulette Rowe | Mary Elizebeth Sikora 

Our Caregivers

Become a mwana advocate

If you would like to learn more about volunteering or partnering with us, fill out the form below and one of our staff members will get back to you.

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