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RISE International works to rebuild lives and communities by partnering with Angolan churches, community leaders and government officials to build primary schools in rural Angola.


The Vision of RISE International is to work together to rebuild lives and communities, reflecting Jesus' charge to love others as we love ourselves.

Our Mission is to partner with Angolan churches, community leaders and government officials to build primary schools in rural Angola.


RISE International, formerly ARC (African Refugee Committee), was founded in response to the overwhelming needs among Angolan refugees in Namibia and Zambia. With an initial focus to provide relief, support and encouragement to refugees of the Angolan civil war, ARC designed and carried out many successful programs among refugees both within and outside refugee camps. A peace initiative arose from in 2002, prompting ARC/ RISE to develop a strategic plan to impact and help rebuild Angola, as well as assist the return of our refugee partners. However, due to devastating effects of 27 years of civil war, the needs in rural areas to which many of the refugees returned are particularly acute and multifaceted, from inadequate medical care to lack of employment, from food shortages and unclean water supplies to lack of educational opportunities. In many areas of rural Angola, schools are virtually non-existent. RISE resolved to address this by leading an effort to rebuild the educational system by building primary schools in the rural areas.


Schools for Angola

Educational Support


Pilgrimage of Service


114 village schools are complete and are now providing a place for children to learn. 7 more schools are currently under construction, incorporating a new and improved design to accommodate more classrooms and students. In each village, there are 350-500 "learners" as they are called, eager to begin their education. The Schools for Angola program can only be overseen and moved forward by local leadership. A leadership team of solid, committed people is in place in Angola. They cast the vision for the schools, oversee construction, interface with partnering churches, and manage operations in Angola.

RISE became an established NGO in Angola with physical offices in two provinces: Benguela and Huila. RISE has earned a reputation both in the U.S. and abroad as a reliable service organization that genuinely cares and makes a difference, and is known among those we serve as a trusted friend and partner bringing hope for the future through education to communities and their families.

RISE partnered with Global Connections of WIllow Creek Community Church, Kerus Global Education and the Angolan Ministry of Education to bring a training to Angola called "It Takes Courage!" which focuses on building character, making wise choices, developing healthy relationships and the prevention of AIDS. Through the implementation of three phases, 924 teachers and leaders can now teach this life skills curriculum. A team of 16 Angolan nationals has been established and certified to train others the teach the curriculum. The certified trainers conducted 4 national trainings with 381 teachers, leaders and pastors being trained. The impact is exponential.


1. Continue to build schools in rural Angola. Maintain a consistent policy of implementing best practices throughout our programs in the U.S. and in Africa. Provide teacher training seminars to enhance existing government training program. Develop a long-term plan for providing continued educational support in Angola.

2. Continue to build and expand partnerships with schools, churches, businesses and organizations, and the Ministry of Education.

3. Implement another phase of the partnership with Willow Creek Global Connections and Kerus Global to present the It Takes Courage! curriculum to leaders and teachers. Oversee the continued AIDS training in schools, churches and communities. Continue teacher training workshops through our summer Pilgrimage of Service.


Lynn A Cole first traveled to Angola with her husband Andrew in May of 1998 for their 25th anniversary and was forever impacted by the experience and the people. Andrew and Lynn have led mission teams to Namibia, Zambia and Angola and co-founded the African Refugee Committee, now call RISE International. She has served on the Board of Directors and has now been named as Executive Director. Lynn has a background in residential general construction, retail sales and management. She and Andrew are the parents of four children who have also developed a love and passion for the Angolan people. Since Andrew's untimely death in August 2004, Lynn remains committed to moving the work forward.


Lynn Cole, Executive Director
Dr. C. Raymond Zeiss, Vice President
Janis Kahren, Secretary
Scott Price, Treasurer
Nancy Anderson, Board Member
Jim Reardon, Board Member
Jo Gilley, Board Member






NORTHFIELD, IL 60093-1204
Phone: (847) 441-4262
EIN: 36-4435162

A Gift Card

Countries and Regions


Help Build A School

Buy A Wheelbarrow

Your gift will help build a classroom in rural Angola. Children will have the opportunity to attend school and receive an education, bringing hope for the future.


Educate a Child

Primary Ed for 1 child

Your gift will give one child the opportunity to attend school, to receive a primary education.