Our Team

Georges is the founder of Ladder to the Moon Network. He’s a published Author of  “Ladder to the Moon, Journey from the Congo to America”. Georges was born In DR Congo and moved to Rwanda in 1994 due to political unrest in his country. He graduated from National University of Rwanda in Business and Administration, moved in U.S. in 2002. He works with Avesta Housing as Senior Property Manager and he was awarded 2012 Site Manager of the Year, an award from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Housing Service and Maine Rural Development. He’s a motivational speaker and professional interpreter. He speaks more than six languages including English, French, Swahili, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Lingala and Kinyamulenge. He strongly believes in advocating for peace, reconciliation and Justice for all. 

Georges Budagu Makoko. Executive Director   

24 Preble Street

Portland, Maine 04101

​207 517-3402

Ladder to the Moon Network

Education, Awareness, and Special Programs in Support of the People of Sub-Saharan Africa

Board Members

 Jeff Thaler, Counselor  

Jeff is the Associate University Counsel for the University of Maine, and also Visiting Associate Professor at Maine Law School. Jeff has been a successful trial, environmental and energy lawyer in Maine for several decades, and has taught students from nursery school to graduate school. He created and still directs a unique program called Resettling Refugees and Immigrants in Maine, for which he has  had students from Williams College (and now Colby College, and one from Waynflete High School) each live with a host immigrant family and work either in a public school classroom with ELL students or in a public health clinic. Jeff is married and has two sons.

Alex Ntung, Counselor/Consulting

Alex is the head of Education Department of Migrant Help, UK national NGO. He is a researcher; trainer, speaker and analyst specialized on social and political issues of the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa.  He is author of the "Not My Worst Day"​ and Co-author of "Education in A Diverse UK". He is an University guest lecturer with an honest insight into issues of war and human security, cultural insensitivity and conflict resolution. As trainer, Alex has recently co-developed a course program on the generation of Effective Leaders in Africa.  He is actively involved in initiatives of promoting peace and political mediation around the world.  Alex is a professional member of the UK Expert Witness Institute (EWI), Mind Professionals and the Experts Immigration Network. He speaks more than six languages.

Betsy Mayberry, Board Member

Betsy worked as a social services consultant in New York City until her retirement in 2011. Prior to this, Betsy served as the Executive Director of Louise Wise Services, a child welfare agency; Director of Services at the Children’s Aid Society, in New York City and as the Administrative Director of Operations of New York City’s public child welfare organization. A graduate of Cornell and Columbia, she lives in the West End of Portland, Maine. She has been on the Board of the Camden Conference for 7 years and serves on the Community Events and Education Committees. She also chairs the Camden Conference Southern Maine Initiatives Committee.

David Ruhara, Board Member

David was born in Democratic Republic of Congo.  At the age of 28 years he went into exile to Rwanda because of the political unrest in his country. In early 1999, he immigrated to Canada where he pursued his studies in Science in Mineral Resources “Geology”. He has lived in diversified communities in Congo, Rwanda and Canada and strongly believes in a vibrant and mutually supportive society. He is a member of the Association of Professional Geologists of Quebec, Canada. In June 2016 he moved from Canada to Maine where he lives with his beautiful wife and four children. He speaks more than five languages.

Laurent Bujambi, Board Member

Laurent is a Portland, Maine resident originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He arrived in Maine with his family in the winter of 2010 from Burundi where they had found refuge in 2004 after fleeing their home country because of political turmoil and civil war. Laurent has a Business Administration and Economics degree from Burundi and an Accounting degree from the University of Southern Maine. In Burundi Laurent has worked for a Telecommunication Company in the marketing department where he helped introduce many products including the Money Mobile Transfer. He  is currently employed in accounting and is based in the Lewiston Auburn Area. A devout Christian and a father to one little girl, Laurent is convinced that we are all called to do our bit to make this world a better place. He has volunteered with different organizations here in Portland and in Africa that promote justice and reconciliation.

Belyse Ndayikunda, Board Member

Belyse was born in in Burundi and grew up there. She moved in Portland, Maine in 2012. She graduated from Deering High School and right after went to SMCC for two years in the Liberal studies in Math Department. She just transferred to the University of Southern Maine as a Math Major. She is an advocate of peace in Burundi and is interested in raising awareness of social justice issues around the world.

Alexis Semuhoza, Board Member

Alexis Semuhoza has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Economics. He has over five years of professional work experience in the field of Accounting, Finance Management, Community development and Mental Health.

Most recently, Alexis served as a member of the Board of Living With Peace and was assigned the primary responsibility of overseeing the management of the organization, linking Newcomers to resources and promoting and strengthening community participation. Alexis served on the Board of Bethel Ministries International and oversaw the finances Department.  Previously he served as Program Coordinator of Feed the Children in Rwanda, coordinating the team of more than 100 people, offering support by providing children with food, school materials, and reunification of the children with their parent. His biggest dream is to bring sustainable solutions to people and help them find happiness and valid answers to their concerns and problems. 


Kathreen Harrison, Board Member

Kathreen (Kit) Harrison is co-founder and Managing Editor of Amjambo Africa! She is a writer and an educator based in Camden, Maine. She has been a newspaper columnist and has published a blog since 2012 in the Bangor Daily News. She is a U.S. State Department sponsored Fulbright Teacher for Global Classrooms.  Kit is a graduate of Harvard College and the Bank Street College of Education. Originally from Washington, D.C., she spent her childhood abroad, where she learned that all people on earth are bound together by a common humanity that transcends nationalistic divisions. She believes Maine is enriched by her newest citizens and considers working for mutual acceptance and understanding to be both an obligation and a joy.