The village of Atiopo was recommended by the Mayor of Cubal as a place of great need. Accompanied by Mr. Lucas of the Cubal Ministry of Education, our 2010 July US team stopped to visit the place, and was stirred by the very desperate conditions. We sat with the Soba (village chief) and community leaders as they shared their story. During the war, people stayed in Atiopo, but there was no opportunity for the children to go to school. In 1978, some classes were held in a small shop, but education was sporadic or non-existent in the midst of war. In 2003, after the war ended, an NGO called Okutuka, meaning “Coming Back” built two classrooms of mud brick in an emergency effort. The mud collapsed over time, but was where class continued to be held, as well as under trees.
The vision was cast, responsibilities were clarified, and the plan to build an 8 classroom school with funds raised by Team RISE 2010 was shared. The village leaders were thrilled, and clapped with excitement when they were told that the school would belong to them upon completion – a permanent structure to educate the children of Atiopo. One village leader, a man that knows hardship, cried as he shared that they “never dreamt that someone would come along to build a school for their children.”
The community brought stone and water, and provided a place to store the cement, and house the building team as they would need to live on site. The local administration brought loads of sand, and provided desks and chalkboards. The Ministry of Education hires and pays the teachers. A US team shared in the dedication celebration on July 3, 2011 – there were speeches, food, singing and dancing, amidst tears and much gratitude. Thanks to Team RISE for their extraordinary efforts!
Zoom in (+) on the map to see a satellite view of the school.
Well funded through Willow Creek's Celebration of Hope