Our Team

Board Members

 

Georges Budagu Makoko - President

Georges is the founder of Ladder to the Moon Network and co-founder of Amjambo Africa. Georges was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and moved to Rwanda in 1994 due to political unrest in his country. He graduated from National University of Rwanda with a degree in Business Administration, and moved to the United States in 2002, where he sought and received asylum. He is the author of Ladder to the Moon: Journey from the Congo to America, a book about his life. Georges worked as Senior Property Manager with Avesta Housing for 15 years. In 2012, he was awarded Site Manager of the Year, a joint award from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Housing Service and Maine Rural Development. He is currently the Director of Residential Services at Serenity Residential Care, LLC. He serves as a motivational speaker and professional interpreter, and 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.


Kathreen Harrison - Vice-President and Community Engagement Committee
Kathreen (Kit) Harrison is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Amjambo Africa. She has a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College, a master’s degree from the Bank Street College of Education, and is certified as an educational administrator and teacher in Maine. She is a 2018 U.S. State Department Fulbright Teacher for Global Classrooms and worked in a variety of positions during a 25-year career in K-8 education, in both New York and Maine. Originally from Washington, D.C., Kit spent her childhood in Asia, and she has also lived in France. She speaks French and English.

Betsy Mayberry - Treasurer and Finance Committee Co-Chair
Betsy worked as a social services consultant in New York until her retirement in 2011. Previously, 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. She is a graduate of Cornell University and Columbia University. She served on the Board of Directors of the Camden Conference for over 10 years, and chairs the Camden Conference Southern Maine Initiatives Committee.

Belyse Ndayikunda - Finance Committee
Belyse was born in Burundi and grew up there. She moved to Portland, Maine, in 2012 and works in finance at Unum as an information project analyst. Belyse graduated from Deering High School, has a bachelor’s degree in math and statistics, and is pursuing a master’s degree in applied statistics. She is part of the executive committee of the Burundian Community Association. Belyse speaks Kirundi, French, Swahili, and English. She loves singing, cooking, and spending time with friends, and is pleased that her participation on the Ladder to the Moon Board allows her to make a positive impact on her community and on the state.


Brice Romeo Ndayisenga - Finance Committee

Brice is from Burundi, where he grew up on the sunny shores of Lake Tanganyika. After high school, he received an Andrew Young International Scholarship to attend Morehouse College. During college, he interned at Comcast as a Salesman in Atlanta, and at JPMorgan Chase & Co. as a Wholesale Loan Operations Analyst in New York City. He earned a Business Finance and Economics degree in May 2016. In May 2017, Brice moved to Portland, Maine, to rejoin his younger brother, Eloi. He volunteers at Learning Works in their English Literacy program and at the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center. He also serves on the Boards of Learning Works and Welcome the Stranger. Brice worked at Bank of America as a Relationship Banker from January 2018 to January 2019, and is currently working as Member Service Representative at cPort Credit Union. In his free time, Brice enjoys hanging out with friends, playing guitar, and attending church activities. He chose to serve on the Ladder to the Moon Board because he believes that information is power and that easy access to the right information is indispensable in promoting social justice.


Laura deDoes - Community Engagement Committee
Laura was born and raised in Maine. She lived out west for eight years and moved back several years ago to raise a family. She works at Maine Medical Center as a Radiologic Technologist and just recently became a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion ambassador. Laura is a mom to three boys. She cares deeply about equality, the environment and both human and animal rights. She is a volunteer chaperone for the Pihcintu Choir. In her free time Laura loves to spend time doing things in the great outdoors, discovering new places and just enjoying time with those dear to her. She has been a distributor and photographer for Amjambo Africa since joining the board in 2018.

Hermenegildo Paulo - Finance Committee

Hermenegildo immigrated to Maine from Angola in early 2017. Currently, he teaches math at King Middle School in Portland. He is passionate about supporting equitable learning opportunities for all students. In addition to teaching, he founded the program Reading Refuges to bring home libraries to all children. He received his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics Education from the University of Agostinho Neto, and is currently pursuing a master’s in Education from the University of the People. He speaks Portuguese and English. In his free time, Hermenegildo enjoys playing soccer, dancing to kizomba, and reading. He is excited to join the board of the Ladder to the Moon Network to help support the growth of programs related to the education of our community.


Mathilde Micomyiza Mamy - Secretary and Community Engagement Committee
Laura was born and raised in Maine. She lived out west for eight years and moved back several years ago to raise a family. She works at Maine Medical Center as a Radiologic Technologist and just recently became a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion ambassador. Laura is a mom to three boys. She cares deeply about equality, the environment and both human and animal rights. She is a volunteer chaperone for the Pihcintu Choir. In her free time Laura loves to spend time doing things in the great outdoors, discovering new places and just enjoying time with those dear to her. She has been a distributor and photographer for Amjambo Africa since joining the board in 2018.