The RISE Board approved funding in November 2013 of an 8 classroom school in Jimba-Silili, a village 7 km outside of Kuito in the Bie Province. The name means “I will sing. I will not cry.” The school was funded through the efforts of Team RISE 2013, our 2013 Fall Benefit and a generous matching donor, along with several US schools, and the Ignatians Service Organization at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.The Ministry of Education (MOE) and local administration asked RISE to build a school, and committed their help, as over 4000 kids in the area were in need a school. Children were learning under trees and in several dilapidated structures. In one of the “classrooms,” students were crowded together sitting on stools, cans or plastic chairs they had carried. Another room was shared by first and second grade groups, and the very engaged teachers were taking turns using an old chalkboard, warped and leaning against the wall. In March 2013, the visiting US team witnessed the plight of the 743 students that were learning in these challenging conditions, with many more longing for the opportunity. Jimba is home to one of the last groups of refugees from the Osire Refugee Camp in Namibia, repatriated in 2012. As a result of living in Namibia, the children from Osire speak English.
Upon completion of the new school, books, desks and chalkboards were delivered. A dedication ceremony took place on June 2, 2014 with students, families, teachers, village leaders, government officials and a small US team attending – the day was filled with music, dancing, speeches and celebration. One of the Provincial Vice-Governors, participated in the ceremony, and as Lynn Cole shared the RISE story, he realized he had known them at Osire 14 years ago – a delightful connection and reunion. He speaks English beautifully, has a university education and is now impacting Angola for the good. The school was turned over to the community and the Ministry of Education, who hired and pays the teachers. The following day, on Tuesday, June 3, 1225 students began to attend class in their beautiful, new school. All are grateful and thrilled.
Two additional classrooms, built by FAS (government funded) in 2006, stand adjacent to the school and were renovated by the local government, making 10 classrooms in total.
TOMS Shoes distribution
Library established June 2016