At just 10 years old a seed was planted in Cassandra Lee’s heart for The Republic of Congo. As she grew up, choosing to continuously nurture this seed and follow her passions into aid, development and missionary work, a dream emerged to use the power of education to give hope back to families and rebuild children’s lives in war-torn regions.
As the co-founder of Justice Rising (alongside her husband Edison Lee), Justice Rising is an organization that aims to bring transformation to areas of conflict through education. To date, the organization has built 10 schools in Eastern Congo, with expansion’s taking places in Iraq and Syria, and Cassandra believes education can truly disrupt the cycle of war in order to create a shift for the next generations to come.
Today’s episode is a conversation about justice, but also about the power of education and how dreaming for the impossible can lead to incredible places if the Global community is willing to engage, lean into the uncertainty together and allow for justice to rise with unrelenting tenacity.
- I would say from the age of 10 I started seeing, okay, the impossible things could happen if we really go after it and partner with heaven, we can see a shift in these places. —Cassandra Lee
- Our target is areas of conflict and bringing peace to war. —Cassandra Lee
- Working in that capacity, going into these areas, I just started asking where does no one else want to go and how do we start going into those regions? —Cassandra Lee
- I think from a young age I didn’t ever know exactly what that would look like and how I would get to the destination, but I always kind of knew where I wanted to go. And that unrelenting passion just drove me the whole way. —Cassandra Lee
- Working in Congo has shown us so much resilience and we’ve seen such incredible heart and spirit in the people that we work with. I feel like even part of our optimism comes from sitting in the dirt with people and saying, “You have been through so much, and you have seen so much, yet you still get up every morning and believe for you country, and believe for your family, and believe your kids are going to have a brighter future.” —Cassandra Lee
- When you bring education to war zones and these places of poverty, young girls are less likely to be trafficked and less likely to be taken as child brides and become child mothers, and same with young boys — young boys are less likely to join the army, and idle youth that have such risk of becoming extremists, education completely shifts that. Community health increases, violence against women decreases, and there is such a shift. —Cassandra Lee
- In order to see change, it’s really going to come through the global community, and a global community standing up to say, “This is not okay. Not on my watch. I’m going to respond.” —Cassandra Lee
Cassandra Lee is the Co-Founder and President of Justice Rising. She has over ten years of international experience living and working in conflict areas around the world, including Southern Sudan during the Darfur crisis, Northern Uganda, the Middle East where she worked with Syrian refugees, and in North Korea. For the past eight years, she has worked primarily in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country defined by war and conflict for over twenty years. Cassandra currently resides in Los Angeles, with her husband Edison Lee.
Mentioned In This Episode:
- Justice Rising
- Monthly Peace Partners
- Pursuing Normal
- Andy Harrington: “We Must Be Servants,” episode #015