Grinding over a rural dirt road, team members from RISE and ExxonMobil, along with local government officials, pulled up to a gathering of kids, teachers, parents and community members, to lay the first stone for an 8-classroom school at Sope. Funds donated at the 2017 Benefit were combined with those from the local Administration and the ExxonMobil Foundation, as part of our partnership with Educate A Child, to build this school. Construction began in June 2018, and was completed in November. The school is ready to be dedicated, and children will have access to education in their beautiful new school.
Construction on the school at 17th of September began anew in February. South of the city of Benguela, it is a dry, dusty area where many have moved in hopes of establishing a better life for their families…however there are no schools, healthcare facilities, nor access to clean water, and life is hard. The government began building a 10-classroom school in 2014, but progress was halted when funds ran out. In partnership with Educate A Child and the ExxonMobil Foundation, RISE completed the school, maximizing the investment.
There are over 4500 children in the area, with many attending class in tin structures – school in name only. Kids are excited as they watch the school get built, though it will only accommodate about 1000 of the many needing a school in which to learn. Teachers shared that they are thrilled and cannot believe this is really happening – a dream come true. “Simply, we are speechless, as the work was started years ago and now we see it being completed; students, teachers, and the community are very excited to see it.”
The school was dedicated on July 6, and the celebration was attended by the Benguela Provincial Governor, two Vice-Governors, Ministers from Luanda, Provincial and Municipal Ministry of Education officers, ExxonMobil, RISE, the community, teachers and thousands of children. Dedicated on Friday, students attended school in new classrooms on Monday – what an incredible experience.
Caluco is a rural area outside of Kuito, where there has been no school, no clinic, and a population living in poverty. The 6-classroom school is beautiful, with office space and bathrooms. This is the first school in the area – the community and children are thrilled, and showed their appreciation at the dedication on January 30th, 2019. The celebration was attended by the Provincial Vice-Governor, Kuito Administration and Ministry of Education officials, Kevin Murphy, ExxonMobil Foundation President, the ExxonMobil team from Luanda, Dr. Mary Pigozzi, the Executive Director of Educate A Child, RISE International and RISE Angola, and the community.
Driving on a muddy road with water-filled ruts from the heavy overnight rain, the guests arrived to a huge awaiting crowd, lining the path. Village leaders in their khaki outfits and hats, women singing and dancing, children, parents, the community, teachers, and officials, greeting and shaking hands, all ready to celebrate the dedication of their amazing school. The ribbon was cut, speeches were delivered (always including one from a student), with special performances, cake, and gifts… baskets of pineapple, lettuce, potatoes, chickens, and a goat, given in gratitude. And now… children are in school with access to education!
A ceremony to lay the first stone at Kateke, a school recently approved, was scheduled for Friday, July 13 – we arrived as part of a caravan led by police with flashing lights. Expecting a low-key event, we were stirred as children lined the path singing and welcoming us. The community has waited for this moment for several years, longing for a school and education for their children. There were speeches by officials, the Ministry of Education and RISE…and singing and dancing, cake, a gift of chickens, and much gratitude! Building materials had been delivered to the site, and construction began immediately!
The school is finished and awaiting dedication. One of the village leaders shared, “We never imagined we would have a school like this. We cannot adequately express our joy; sometimes we drop tears. We are so grateful!”
This is a location where RISE has committed to complete 15 unfinished classrooms started by the local government in 2014, before funding ran out. There are 12 existing classrooms, with the rest of the nearly 3000 students schooling outside, or in areas separated by sheets of tin. Teachers invest in the education of their students in harsh conditions, without classrooms, books or resources.
Construction was completed, with funding from RISE and the ExxonMobil Foundation, as part of our co-funding partnership with Educate A Child. The Monitoring and Evaluation component of the project, tracking the enrollment, attendance and retention of the students began in February 2018. A dedication ceremony took place on July 6th, celebrated by the Benguela Provincial Governor, two Vice-Governors, Ministers from Luanda, Provincial and Municipal Ministry of Education officials, ExxonMobil, RISE, teachers, students, parents and the community. The school was dedicated on Friday, and students and teachers moved to the new classrooms on Monday morning – a dream come true!
The story of Cacilhas Norte is one of passion and commitment. With thousands of children in the area, and no schools, the principal and community worried for the future of their kids without access to education. As the government was not in a position to help, they came together to purchase land for a school. The project was started in 2014, with community members contributing money each year toward a new school with 18 classrooms, offices, and 11 bathrooms, to improve the teaching and learning process. The school was about ⅓ complete when they met with the RISE Angola team and asked that RISE help them finish the school. The vision to partner with this community was cast at our 2018 Benefit, to complete the school and give these kids access to education. Funds were generously donated and have been combined with those from Educate A Child, and construction began immediately.
Cacilhas Norte is in an urban, poor area – with access by winding through rutted, mud “streets” lined with block and tin structures, small shops, lots of people, chickens, goats and pigs. For years, the Principal advocated for the kids, for more than education under trees and in tin rooms, and said she now “feels like someone who is dreaming, or watching tv, as it is too good to be true!” At the last meeting with the community, she shared that, “the project was approved, and the community members were jumping with joy. At moments like this, you don’t find words. Kids will be different – with a building like this, the students, community and country will start changing.”
We worked to raise money to build a school at Njele with the help of many in the US, and in partnership with Educate A Child and the ExxonMobil Foundation. Located in the heart of Angola, just south of Kuito, in the Bie Province, Njele has more than 2000 children in the area, and has had access to education for only a few in tin rooms and under trees. The principal, teachers and community leaders have been burdened by the plight of their children, have longed for a school, and now hope for a better future with education for their kids.
A US team visited in November 2017 and was welcomed with a ceremony of thanks, with songs, dances and speeches. Meeting with the principal, teachers and community leaders, the process of tracking the enrollment, registration and retention of the students was laid out, and the Monitoring and Evaluation process began in 2018. All are excited for their new school which was dedicated on June 1st. Local officials, RISE Angola, administrators and teachers, students, families, and the community celebrated with joy and gratitude – a dream come true!
Ngunda is a village in central Angola, 33km southwest of Kuito, and 6km from the junction leading to Menongue. With a population of 2478, 132 students, taught by three teachers in makeshift classrooms, had access to education with many more longing for the chance to go to school.
The local government funded $80,000, RISE contributed $30,000, and on March 1st, the first stone was laid for the 4-classroom school. Construction was completed in August, and a wonderful dedication celebration was held on September 17th, National Hero’s Day to commemorate Agostinho Neto’s birthday, the first president of Angola. The Vice-Governor of Bie, the Mayor of Kuito, Ministry of Education officials, RISE Angola and RISE International representatives, parents, teachers, students and the community participated. A school is an essential starting point, and children at Ngunda now have a place to learn!
Alto Esperanca means “high hope” and is located in a dry, desert-like area near Lobito in the Benguela Province. Many at Alto Esperanca fled from the inland area of Ngoa for safety when the war began in 1975, only to find added hardship, as they were used to farming which was not possible around Alto Esperanca. People in the area suffer from poverty and unemployment, but want to invest in the education of their children and change the future.
In desperate need of a school, there are an estimated 6,000 kids out of school in the area. Alto Esperanca is a joint effort, a public school with involvement of a local church and the Ministry of Education. The plan was to build an 8-classroom school, and as it is near the edge of Lobito, there is access to power which means there can be a 3rd shift of classes in the evening to accommodate more students.
A symbolic cornerstone was laid in September 2015, and children at Alto Esperanca looked forward to a new school! Through the efforts and generosity of Team RISE 2015, U.S. Schools and individuals, Sonangol Marine Services and partners, and the 2015 RISE Benefit, the school was funded and built in 2016. Though waiting for official paperwork from the government, over 400 students are enrolled with more to be given the opportunity in 2018.
Zoom in (+) on the map to see a satellite view of the school.
Cicolo is a large suburb in the Cacuaco Municipality, part of the capital city of Luanda. The area is heavily populated and lacks needed infrastructure. A Catholic Mission applied to Sonangol for funding for the secondary school project, and the work was started, but left unfinished. It was then given to BP Angola and RISE Angola to complete, and construction began.
With a serious shortage of classrooms, the request was made to begin using the 8 classrooms on the lower level while construction on the project continued. In March, class was in session on the first floor. The school was completed and dedicated on August 19th. The beautiful structure includes 16 classrooms, 2 labs, offices, bathrooms and a cafeteria, and a basketball court.
Comandante Tomas Ferreira is located in the town of Benguela, in the Benguela Province. The school was built in the 1980s, but suffered from damage in the war and years of disrepair. With great need for infrastructure in the area, the school applied for funding. BP Angola and Partners responded, and asked RISE to repair 12 classrooms and the office area, as well as build 12 new classrooms and a basketball court. There are 2115 junior secondary school students in 7th, 8th and 9th grade.
In recent years, class continued to be held in the damaged rooms. Students were shifted to temporary classrooms so construction could begin as the Ministry of Education did not want to disrupt the education process. The school was dedicated on August 26, 2016, with much joy and celebration.
Tomas Ferreira sits on a large piece of property, with the 24 classrooms, offices, bathrooms, and outdoor space creating a wonderful campus setting. With funds from BP Angola, a library was established in April 2017 – students have never seen nor been to a library and are excited to have access to amazing books and resources.
Zoom in (+) on the map to see a satellite view of the school.
Thousands of children, in the Bie Province, long for a school. In the village of Trumba, there are 233 students learning in makeshift classrooms and under trees, with another 300 children out the school system because there are no classrooms. Full funding for 8 classrooms was reached in May, the funds were wired and construction began. Thanks to all who donated to give kids in Trumba a new school in which to learn – they are excited!
The local Administration has provided new desks and chalkboards, and is grateful for our partnership. The dedication ceremony and celebration took place on April 1st, 2016, with many in attendance.
A beautiful clinic sits near the school and was dedicated and opened on November 10, 2015. There is also a well near the school, which will supply clean water to both the school and clinic.
Zoom in (+) on the map to see a satellite view of the school.
A new 6-classroom school was completed and dedicated at the Sendi Mission near Quipungo, in the Huila Province. BP Angola and Partners fundied the project and RISE Angola built the school. The location is remote, 13 km off the main road. The Sendi Mission was established in 1922, but was destroyed during the war. In 1997, the priest and several others returned and decided to rebuild. About 150 children live at the mission and will attend the new school along with children from the community.
A variety of indoor and outdoor spaces were used as makeshift classrooms, and all are excited to have a beautiful, new school. There are 795 students, though that number is expected to rise as others are continuing to enroll. Hundreds of children are out of school in the area because of the shortage of classrooms.
The Huila Governor visited on April 3rd with his team, and was amazed by the quality and efficiency of the process. A RISE team from the US visited the school in February, and again to celebrate the dedication of the school on Thursday, September 3. The Vice-Governor of Huila, government officials, the President of BP Angola, and a group representing BP Angola and Partners participated in the ceremony along with students, teachers, parents and the community. A wonderful program with speeches, plays, music and dancing marked this special day!
The school at Cacuaco was built in partnership with BP Oil Angola and Partners. Thousands of children are in need of a school in this area, north of Luanda. The school is built at an orphanage, Projecto Social Pequena Semente (Little Seed), who applied to BP for funding. There are 420 students, 120 that live at the orphanage, who will now have the chance to attend in their new 6-classroom school.
A dedication celebration took place on March 10th with the Vice Governor, Juvelina Imperial, and the Cacuaco Administrator in attendance, as well as representatives from BP Oil Angola, Chevron, RISE Angola, the school and community.
A school was desperately needed at Bundiangolo, about 8 km south of the town of Cubal, where some “schooled” under trees or in three deteriorated mud block rooms. The local administration, grateful for partnership with RISE, joined us to build an 8 classroom school in this village, jointly funding the project.
Started in 2014, it had to be halted in 2015. Bundiangolo faced a unique situation and additional funds of $50,000 were needed to complete it. Due to the economic crisis in Angola, the final government disbursement was delayed for nearly a year, and the funds, once received, were worth half of their previous value, while prices had risen drastically. RISE had a significant investment, and the students waited, once again suffering because of where they live. The money was raised and this beautiful school was completed, and dedicated on January 23, 2017. The celebration was attended by the Provincial Governor of Benguela, many officials, the community, students and teachers. All are grateful for this amazing school and are thrilled to have an incredible facility. There are 875 students, 364 of whom are girls.
The government funded a well drilled by JAM (Joint Aid Management), and built a health post next to the school. A US team visited in April 2017 and established a library with grant funds from BP Angola – the students, teachers and administration are thrilled, as their dreams have come true.
Zoom in (+) on the map to see a satellite view of the school.
This school was built in partnership with Baker Hughes, a top-tier oilfield service company with a century-long track record. They invest in places where they work as part of their commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility.
Construction of 5 classrooms was completed and a dedication ceremony was held on Thursday, November 6th. The Mayor of Bocoio and Baker Hughes representatives participated, along with those from RISE Angola, the Ministry of Education, the community and students. The Ministry of Education provided desks, chalkboards and textbooks, as well as hired and pays the teachers. Three additional classrooms have been constructed to help accommodate the need, funded through the efforts of Team RISE 2014 and Baker Hughes. The dedication celebration of these classrooms took place on June 17, 2015. Additionally, Willow Creek North Shore donated funds to drill a well at the school site where they have clean water for the first time – the kids and community are thrilled!
Sibol, about 7 km outside of Bocoio, was a Portuguese farm in colonial days. The community desperately wanted a place for their children to learn as they had been schooling under trees and in a dilapidated and unsafe old school building. There are 542 children in grades 1 – 6, and another 201 students in grades 7, 8 and 9, and they are excited about their new school and well.
Construction of the 151st school, Sakapolo, began in February 2014. Sakapolo is about 5km from the main road, and 15km from Chinguar in the western Bie Province. For many years, both the community and local administration longed for a school for the children. Learning for 552 kids took place in very difficult conditions. . .they used 3 small mud brick classrooms with upright tree stumps as chairs, and also held class under trees.
The kids and community watched with excitement as the walls to the new school went up! Construction was completed in July, and the school was dedicated on Friday, August 15th, with great celebration. Students, families, community leaders, local administrators and representatives from the Ministry of Education participated in this special event. Students were given new “batas” or uniforms and each received a pair of TOMS shoes. The beautiful school has 7 classrooms, with office space for the teachers and principal, and bathrooms. Wonderfully, there is a well with clean water at the school site.
Interestingly, RISE built where there was nothing, and the local government is now following with investments, adding another school for grades 7 – 9, a health post and water tank. Angola has witnessed a migration to cities where people hope for a better life, but schools and health posts in rural areas encourage people to remain.
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.
This 12 classroom secondary school, funded by BP and Partners and built by RISE, sits on the edge of town. It has offices, a library space, bathrooms, a basketball court and a well.
Dedicated in April 2014, the Provincial Governor attended and was impressed, seeing the building and students. BP officials were very pleased, the day was filled “with glory and excitement” and the school will transform the educational opportunities in Bocoio.
Additionally, a grant from BP Angola provided for the establishment of a library at the school in April 2017. Students were captivated and excited as they have never seen, nor been to a library – they love the library, and access to books and resources as this has never been possible!
In June of 2013, the US team walked on the site amidst the tall, dry grass. The government had committed $140,000 and RISE contributed $70,000, and implemented the project. The location is beautiful and very remote. . .two hours inland from the coast, and then another hour and a half over rough, dirt roads to a magnificent school that will give over 1000 children the opportunity for education.The site is strategic as homes are scattered, and the school serves as a central area. The school is finished, and the dedication was scheduled for Friday, April 4, but heavy rains made roads impassable and the dedication was postponed. People are grateful for the partnership, and friendship.
Funda, a beautiful school on the outskirts of Luanda, was financed by BP Oil and Partners. BP responded to a request for a school by a group of Catholic nuns living on the outskirts of Luanda, and asked RISE Angola to build and oversee the work. The site is at Kaop Nova, where there were two small classrooms, and sits on the Green Belt, which supplies vegetables to Luanda.
Beata Angelica, from the US Embassy in Luanda, accompanied a US RISE team to see the schools at Funda and Viana in June 2013. The visitors were warmly greeted by students and Mother Teresa, with much gratitude, and a special cake and snacks in thanks.
The new school has 6 classrooms and offices for the principal and teachers. The RISE Angola building team from Bocoio lived at the site during construction. A special dedication took place on February 3, 2014, and the kids are delighted as is the Director, Mother Teresa.
A 6 classroom school at Chissindo was built with memorial gifts given in honor of Don and Naomi Cole along with funds raised at our 2012 Benefit, year-end donations, and a gift from a generous private donor. Chissindo is located on the outskirts of Kuito and there is a great need for classrooms. There are 600 students in attendance at Chissindo, with an additional 2301 at satellite locations where there is “something” that can be used as a classroom, with stones and milkcans as chairs. Class is held in two shifts and many of those in grades 5 and 6 are adults. The local administration provided desks and chalkboards, and the Ministry of Education hires and pays the teachers.
A special ceremony was led by the local administration, attended by the principals of several schools, the Provincial Director of the MOE, many from the community, children and the media, as the school was dedicated on September 19th, 2013. Images were later shown on TV in recognition of what RISE has done.
Zoom in (+) on the map to see a satellite view of the school.
Rural kids deserve an education and a building in which to learn! One of the village leaders shared that it was as if “the school had dropped from heaven.”
In early 2013, a well funded by Willow Creek North Shore was drilled near the school site. When a US team arrived, women were using the pump, kids were playing and washing, and the tribal chief shared with enthusiasm and gratitude that there was no more diarrhea. Women no longer spend hours walking to the river carrying buckets of water for their families. The community is deeply grateful for the impact of education and clean water.
The school at Kuquema is just outside of Kunhinga, and is a beautiful 8 classroom school in a very remote area where there was no school. Funded by BP Oil and Partners, BP officials attended the dedication in February 2013 and were delighted. The local government provided desks, chalkboards and hired 16 teachers. Teachers shared their gratitude and excitement at being able to teach in large, new classrooms, and that it impacts them and the students, creating an atmosphere that facilitates learning.
There is a school feeding program, which is government funded and implemented by a separate organization, and will encourage even more students to attend. Lack of water in the area created challenges, but the government has recently drilled a well near the school site.
A beautiful, new school at Vacaria (formerly known as Chimbassi) funded by BP Oil and partners, was dedicated in February 2013. This school has 8 classrooms, offices and bathrooms, and is changing educational opportunities in the area. People know the story of those in the U.S. wanting to help and about the family that saved money to be able to give them the well and clean water. They shared that “there was nothing – we were desolate and desperate, and within a few short months, we have a beautiful new school and well. We never would have dreamed how our lives would change! We are happy and grateful – thank you!”
Zoom in (+) on the map to see a satellite view of the school.
The people of Lumela have felt forgotten, as there had never been a school or clinic in their village. Even in Portuguese times, no one came through Lumela. Located about 12 km from Bocoio, access to the village is over a very rough and little used dirt road. Mr. Eduardo Tavarez, the soba or village chief, came to RISE to request a school for the children of Lumela. He was engaged, very committed and donated the property for the building. In 2012, a 3 classroom school with an office and bathrooms was built and dedicated, amidst much joy and celebration.RISE has developed a partnership with BP Angola, working together for mutually beneficial outcomes, through their Sustainable Development and Community Investment Program which focuses on education, enterprise development and access to energy. With RISE as the implementing partner, several schools have been financed by BP Angola, including the school at Lumela.
The school at Limbuata, 30km west of Cubal in Caimbambo, is built near the remains of an old school and abandoned Portuguese farm. Children were schooling in the roofless ruins. Consideration was given to repair but the buildings were not structurally sound nor safe. Built in partnership with the BP Foundation and BP Angola, the school was funded and construction of a new 6-classroom school began in January 2012.
A U.S. RISE team visited the site in February, the school was built, completed and then dedicated on April 2, 2012. The students, teachers, community, RISE Angola, JAM, local administration and Ministry of Education representatives, as well as BP Angola officials celebrated with joy!
A government funded well was drilled by JAM (Joint Aid Management), so the children have access to education and clean water.
Lixeira sits on the edge of Lobito in a very dry, poor area. Several thousand students desperately needed a school, and RISE responded by building an 8 classroom school. With so many students, class was being held in three sessions to give more children a chance. The community is highly motivated and paid for a wall built around the perimeter of the school, as well as small trees to provide shade.
On a RISE team visit in July 2011, several were asked to meet with a small group of community leaders, who expressed deep gratitude for the school that had been built, the overwhelming need, their burden, and a request for more classrooms as hundreds could still not attend for lack of space. The leaders respectfully pleaded for education for their children – parents and communities longing to give their children what they have not had, longing to give them a better future. Their plight was told in the US and donors responded at the end of 2011 with funds to add 8 more classrooms.
Many communities are pleading for a school. Our RISE Angola leaders make decisions as to where future schools will be built based on the need, location, accessibility, commitment of the community, local administration and Ministry of Education. Chaimbungo is a village in which the people suffered much during the war and many died. Committed to the education of their children, they longed for a school.
A Roman Catholic Mission, near the village of Chaimbungo, helped local kids with a one-classroom school in the 70’s. When the war escalated, many people from surrounding villages came to Chaimbungo and there was need for a bigger school. Nothing happened until 1995 when a German Development group built them a three classroom school with mud bricks – a building that crumbled over the years and was unable to accommodate the many students in recent years.
The vision to help build the school at Chaimbungo was cast at the 2011 RISE Benefit, funds were raised and construction began at the end of 2011. Members of the community brought stones and sand for the foundation and building. The school was built, celebrated and dedicated on July 16, 2012…and several hundred children are now in new classrooms, learning! Deep gratitude was expressed and we were given chickens and a goat in thanks!
Ndongua is situated at the edge of Kuito in the Bie Province, and though near town, the need is overwhelming. The team visited one of the locations where there are 18 makeshift classrooms as there were 4461 students in 2011, with 123 teachers. To alleviate some of the problem, and give some students real classrooms, RISE was asked to help.
The chosen site would accommodate a new 8 classroom school, with 2 additional classrooms across the road stood that the local administration committed to repair, would provide 10 classrooms in total. Funds were wonderfully raised by Team RISE 2011, and wired at the end of the year. The school was built, finished and dedicated on June 5, 2012. Classes with younger children still school under chapas and next to the school, bringing their own chairs or cans on which to sit, as there is still not enough space.
Dedicated on July 24, 2012 with ribbon cutting, speeches, songs, poetry, there was great celebration and much gratitude! Over 500 children are going to school this year and for many to come.
A group of passionate and creative moms (Moms Educate Africa) share the yearning of Angolan parents to provide the basics of health, safety, opportunity and education for their kids. With a desire to make a difference, they met regularly, planned and hosted many creative fundraisers. Funds were combined with those from the 2011 Spring Appeal, and a school was built at Santa Cruz Alta, a place where there has never been a school. It was dedicated in November 2011. Santos, the tribal chief, shared that they “never dreamt they would have such a beautiful school! Please give our greetings and gratitude to those in the U.S. that made this possible!” Several from the U.S. Embassy in Angola visited the RISE-built school at Santa Cruz Alta in March of 2013, after winding up a steep path which only four-wheel drive vehicles can navigate. Hundreds of kids poured out of the school and surrounded the group, energized and excited. The guests were introduced, shared greetings and encouraged the students – there were smiles, photos, applause and thanks for such a special visit!
A small team again visited in May 2014, driving at dusk up a terrible “road” as the area is desperately dry, dusty and rocky. Extreme poverty is pervasive, but Santa Cruz Alta is a place where people are able to live outside the city. Weaving up and down, through billows of dust, the magnificent school comes into view. The principal had just left, but the school guard, along with his daughter who is a student, showed us 3 additional classrooms at the back – built with funds from the community. The school is well maintained, there is no litter, and trees planted as seedlings, have grown and offer some shade.
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!
The efforts of Team RISE 2010 funded an 8-classroom school at Sao Jose, 7km outside of Kuito. Responding to an enormous need of nearly 3000 children, who were schooling in 2 small classrooms, and in many small groups outside, where children sat on stools, cans or chairs they carried to attend class. Rain, cold and wind mean there can be no class without the protection of a building.
The principal expressed much gratitude, and shared that there is a significant difference in learning in classrooms rather than outside – the kids are more engaged, able to pay attention, and serious about their studies. The need remains huge with so many children, and additional classes continue to meet outside in “rooms” built with corrugated tin.
Chico da White is a 45 minute drive to the north of Balombo over dirt roads. At this remote location desperately in need of a school, Adriano made introductions and cast vision when we arrived for a visit in July 2010. He challenged the leaders, teachers, community and the kids, to do their part. As a truck of sand sent by the local administration arrived, several children jumped on the truck and excitedly shoveled the load out of vehicle.
Funds were raised through the 2010 Spring Appeal, and the school was built in an amazing setting with significant community involvement. It has 8 classrooms, offices and latrines. A natural spring which flows from the mountains, was tapped and provides water at the school site. Dedicated on Tuesday, July 12, the US team was able to witness and shared in the celebration. The Vice-Mayor of Balombo and local officials participated and expressed immense gratitude.
The local administration in Kuito shared concern about the plight of so many children without a school to attend. Partnering with RISE, they funded the school at Cangalo in the Piloto area, and construction of a six classroom school began in 2010.
The dedication at Cangalo was one of many country-wide celebrations in honor of the first day of school on Monday morning, January 31st, 2011. Numerous officials participated along with teachers, the community and many of the nearly 3000 registered students, more than the school can accommodate. The ceremony began with a procession of guests, ribbon cutting and the pouring of champagne on the threshold. Several speeches followed, and the Mayor of Kuito engaged the crowd, thanked RISE, and challenged students and teachers to work hard, to learn and to care for the school. A celebration lunch followed with music and dancing, joy and gratitude.
Morro da Radio is in a very poor, desperate area of Lobito, near the coast. The site is not as rural as most locations, but one where there continues to be huge need. The Ministry of Education requested that RISE build at Morro da Radio to respond to the thousands of out of school children.
A 5-classroom school was funded and built, accommodating 1344 students. A U.S. RISE team visited the school in March of 2010, celebrated with students, teachers and officials, and handed over the keys. Another team stopped by the school in July 2010 – it’s always exciting to see kids in school learning!
A US team visited the site in March, 2010, and another in July, spending the day working at the site. Caala was finished, celebrated and dedicated on November 11th, 2010, which is Independence Day in Angola. Over 500 children, who schooled under trees and in a small church building, are excited to have classrooms in which to meet, protected from sun, wind and rain…and are grateful for the efforts of those who have worked to make their dream a reality!
The local administration funded two schools in Kuito, partnering with RISE because they see RISE as trustworthy and efficient. RISE provided plans, purchased building materials and gave oversight. The need is so great that a third day shift was added to accommodate students, and a generator was purchased to hold night classes for older students.
The school at Catraio holds classes for students in grades K – 6, with 50+ students per class, meeting for approximately 3 ½ hours each. The local government also refurbished the old and damaged classrooms on the site to more efficiently accommodate the 2687 students. The school was dedicated and celebrated on June 23, 2010.
Driving for 2 hours over dirt roads, muddy and deeply rutted from the heavy rains, the village of Gamba-Nongolo in the Huila Province fits RISE’s “rural” criteria. As a US RISE team arrived, several hundred children lined up in white uniforms, sang a wonderful welcome and cheered with gratitude for their new school. Funds raised through the Chicago Marathon effort had been wired at the end of October and construction began. The building process was completed in 3 1/2 months – hundreds of children were in classrooms for the first time, sitting in desks, learning as the school year began on February 1st.
In addition to the school, the community also received a well at the school site. In February 2010, the group shared that the well had been completed and in use for two months – there was no more cholera, diarrhea and other stomach problems had been significantly reduced. The women and girls who had been walking 10km each way for water were thrilled and grateful to have water a few steps from their homes. It is one of the “greatest things that has ever happened to the village.” All in the community have access to water, serving about 120 families everyday.
The wells in this area are installed with a wheel and require little maintenance other than lubricant. The community at Gamba-Nongolo selected a team of 5 people to care for the well, who were trained by the Ministry of Water and Energy. One is the leader of the group, one is responsible for the area around the well, two oversee the well and its use, and one is the treasurer as the community gives money for maintenance. The community team is also responsible to teach about clean water and its importance in disease prevention.
With much growth, thousands of children are in need of schools on the outskirts of Kuito. A 5 classroom L-shape school was built at Camalaia, with help from the local community. The school was dedicated in February 2010, amidst celebration and gratitude.
A US team arrived to visit Camalaia in July 2011 to find the beautiful RISE school being used. However, there are 1828 students and not enough room to accommodate them all, so 10 outside “classrooms” with a tin roof (chapa) covering, have been added. There is a real hunger for education.
In 2015, the local government is building another school next to the RISE school to accommodate more students with additional classrooms – great news for the kids and community!
The 2009 US RISE team, visiting in July, had the honor of participating in the dedication celebration of the beautiful new RISE school at Unguengue. More wonderful than the building were the faces of the children, their parents and community – hope, delight and gratitude for the opportunity for education! New desks and blackboards were delivered and children began class in a school building for the first time.
As Unguengue is just off the road used to drive from the coast to Bocoio, the school is passed frequently when visiting Angola. Every time people are using the well, drilled with funds from Willow Creek Community Church, drawing clean water for their families and saving hours of walking to and from the river. Clean water is life changing, and women from the village repeatedly express their gratitude for the improved health of their children as a result.
The tribal chief from Ngoa, a visionary, pursued Adriano Huambo, RISE Angola Country Director, and pleaded for a school for the children of his village. In July 2008, a U.S. team visited, heard the stories, witnessed the desperate need, and wanted to respond.
At the same time, a family from the Chicago area decided to celebrate their 25th anniversary and 50th birthdays in a meaningful way, asking friends and family to help them raise funds to impact the lives of kids in Angola. They were able to give the kids of Ngoa a school and the opportunity for education!
On Wednesday, February 2nd, the school at Ngoa was dedicated. The story of the Chicago family was shared, followed by cheers of delight and gratitude. Vice Mayors from Bocoio and Passe, the Police Chief, tribal leaders, community members, parents, teachers and students attended. The Vice Mayor of Bocoio explained that he was from Ngoa, and had been educated there in a church building as there was no school to attend. A ribbon cutting, champagne inauguration and speeches followed. The dream is now a reality as children learn in new classrooms in Ngoa.
On the edge of Bocoio, over 1300 kids had no school to attend. The need was great, and the Cole family decided to use the balance of memorial funds donated after Andrew’s death, to build a school at Kanjongui. An 8-classroom school was built, and dedicated on January 4th, 2009, named in honor of “Dr. Andrew.” Hundreds of children sat in new desks learning when the school year began the first week of February 2009.
In October 2009, a terrible wind storm damaged a portion of the roof, lifting the purlins and chapas off the structure. Repairs were made to put the school back in use. In 2011, the school at Chilengue unified with Kanjongui.
The village of Cubal Koyaya had never had a school and the war had been brutal. In February 2008, a small US team visited and was moved as the community affirmed their commitment and desire to build this school. Funded by the joint effort of three schools in the US, Ascension Catholic School, Wheeling and Hersey High Schools, and those three groups are made up of hundreds of students that extended themselves, through bake sales, coin drives, donut sales, a Walk for Angola and concerts – hundreds of students, giving of themselves to help students halfway around the world.
In July, after driving for over two hours on a road accessed only in 4 wheel drive vehicles, a caravan with government officials and the RISE team returned to Cubal Koyaya to participate in the school dedication. As the vehicles approached, hundreds of children ran to greet the visitors, singing with joy. A beautiful new school came into view – where there had been nothing a few short months prior, now stood a symbol of partnership and hope and a future.
The day of celebration and dedication will be remembered and the story retold. It is the only structure like it for miles, and the people of Cubal Koyaya are proud of the school they helped build, that belongs to their village, and speaks to their serious commitment to education.
As part the Rotary Partnership with RISE, a well was drilled at Cubal Koyaya in June 2016, accompanied by WASH training (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene). Joint Aid Management (JAM), the organization that drilled the well, will also be implementing a feeding program at the school.
The school at Palanca, a village outside Lubango, sits amidst an expanse of rolling grassland where the Mwuila people, a semi-nomadic tribe live, and herd cattle and goats. Children in the area had never had a school.
Over 2,000 kids now sit in desks in a beautiful school, attending in 3 shifts. The Mwuila have no written language and students learn in Portuguese, the national language. US teams have visited Palanca several times, handing out toothbrushes in February 2009 that were donated by a Chicago area dentist, and conveyed greetings from many in the US who raised funds to help build their school, encouraging them to study hard on a July 2009 visit.
A shipping container, painted and loaded with school supplies and clothing by a passionate group in Tucson, sits at the school site in Palanca.
In 2007, five years of peace had brought a new sense of permanence, stability, and possibility with a tangible commitment to rebuild and a continued cry for education. In response to the request of our leadership teams in Angola and the government, and in an ongoing effort to implement best practices, RISE moved to a new school design in 2007. It was a more permanent structure, and quality driven, incorporating better building materials not previously available. With additional classrooms, the new design would meet the needs of even more children, and allow for future expansion.
The first school of the new design was built at Kavimbi and dedicated on November 11, 2007. The Mayor, representatives from the local government and Ministry of Education and people from surrounding villages joined the students, their families and community in celebration.
Olivensa is an area with a population of about 10,000 people of which 6,000 are school age children. The area had only two schools and RISE added the 3rd school in response to the enormous need. Built in 2006, the school was one of the original design and one of the first built in Huila. Some benches were provided for students, but many carry their own chair or can on which to sit.
A dedication ceremony was held on Monday, May 1, 2006. More than 300 people attended the ceremony including government officials and the local Administrator, who cut the inauguration ribbon. One of the students wrote and read a speech of gratitude. There was a symbolic handing over of school supplies and clothing that were shipped from the US, and students received basic textbooks. The celebration continued throughout the afternoon.
Wongo is located 25 km from Kuito, in the Bie Province. Some of the heaviest battles took place in Bie particularly in rural areas like Wongo, and many suffered and died. With the end of civil war in 2002, people started returning to rebuild their village and lives. Now the population of Wongo numbers 794, of which 326 are students.
Wongo was built with funds raised by New Trier High School, one of the first five pilot schools in late 2003 – 2004. Located near the administrative area of Trumba, it a place RISE teams have visited many times. Kids have received TOMS Shoes and excitedly receive and welcome visitors.
New wells, one at Wongo, have been drilled as part of our water project validation study, and clean water is already impacting the communities, as children’s health has improved, and women no longer spend hours carrying unclean water from the river. The team arrived in Wongo in April 2017 to an incredible greeting with children lined up, excitedly singing songs of welcome, leading us to their new well – the utter joy and expression of thanks was overwhelming.