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Angolan Students and Community Members Celebrate Opening of New School
Approximately 200 students and guests attended the inauguration of the Santa Bakhita Miananga School in Rocha Pinto, located in the outskirts of Luanda, Angola on December 5, 2008. <br /> <br />Rainy skies failed to quell the enthusiasm of
LUANDA, Angola - Children gather in Santa Bakhita Miananga School following the school&#39;s opening ceremony on December 5, 2008 in Luanda, Angola. The two-story school, built in coordination with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), includes an expanded toilet system and twice as many classrooms as the previous building. (Photo by Commander Denise Shorey, U.S. Africa Command)
2 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 1 of 2: LUANDA, Angola - Children gather in Santa Bakhita Miananga School following the school's opening ceremony on December 5, 2008 in Luanda, Angola. The two-story school, built in coordination with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), includes an expanded toilet system and twice as many classrooms as the previous building. (Photo by Commander Denise Shorey, U.S. Africa Command) Download full-resolution version
LUANDA, Angola - Children stand for the Angolan national anthem during the opening ceremony for the newly constructed Santa Bakhita Miananga School in Luanda, Angola on December 5, 2008. The two-story school, built in coordination with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), includes an expanded toilet system and twice as many classrooms as the previous building. (Photo by Commander Denise Shorey, U.S. Africa Command)
2 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 2 of 2: LUANDA, Angola - Children stand for the Angolan national anthem during the opening ceremony for the newly constructed Santa Bakhita Miananga School in Luanda, Angola on December 5, 2008. The two-story school, built in coordination with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), includes an expanded toilet system and twice as many classrooms as the previous building. (Photo by Commander Denise Shorey, U.S. Africa Command) Download full-resolution version
LUANDA, Angola - Children gather in Santa Bakhita Miananga School following the school&#39;s opening ceremony on December 5, 2008 in Luanda, Angola. The two-story school, built in coordination with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), includes an expanded toilet system and twice as many classrooms as the previous building. (Photo by Commander Denise Shorey, U.S. Africa Command)
LUANDA, Angola - Children stand for the Angolan national anthem during the opening ceremony for the newly constructed Santa Bakhita Miananga School in Luanda, Angola on December 5, 2008. The two-story school, built in coordination with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), includes an expanded toilet system and twice as many classrooms as the previous building. (Photo by Commander Denise Shorey, U.S. Africa Command)
Approximately 200 students and guests attended the inauguration of the Santa Bakhita Miananga School in Rocha Pinto, located in the outskirts of Luanda, Angola on December 5, 2008.

Rainy skies failed to quell the enthusiasm of ceremony attendees, to include approximately 10 students in formation. The ceremony opened with the United States and Angolan national anthems, and included remarks from local Angolan government officials, U.S. Ambassador to Angola Dan Mozena, and U.S. Africa Command deputy commander for civil-military activities Mary Carlin Yates.

"Today we inaugurate the Santa Bakhita School and celebrate the importance of schools and education," stated Mozena. "Education is an integral part of the United States Government's larger vision in Angola. We are committed to working with the Angolan government in partnership to realize this vision, and this school is a tangible result of that partnership."

The new two-story building replaces a one-story building, with an increased number of classrooms to serve the needs of more than 900 students. The school is supported by a Catholic church, which maintains the facility and provides educators and welcomes children of all faiths. The development project, largely funded by the United States military and led by the United States Agency for International Development, also provided for the construction of a significantly larger toilet area providing increased sanitary conditions for the students.

Ambassador Yates applauded the hard work of those involved in making the project a success. "This facility is a dream made real by the efforts of numerous groups and parts of the U.S. Embassy," she stated. "Projects like these provide opportunities for the U.S. Africa Command to reach out to our African partners and to work hand-in-hand to create a brighter future. I wish the Rocha Pinto School and its students every success."

Angola's war for independence from Portugal and the following prolonged civil war in Angola have greatly affected the nation's ability to provide education to its citizens. With approximately 10,000 classrooms destroyed by the war, current approximate statistics provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development show that one of every four children are non-enrolled in school and one million adolescents are illiterate. This situation is improving--since the war's end in 2002, preschool enrollment has increased by 335 percent, primary enrollment by 107 percent, and secondary enrollment by 127 percent.


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