Francis and Bobbie Mustapha may both be retired, but their schedules remain busy. The couple, both School of Education alumni, are continuing to work in a different way: promoting the Madina Village School in Madina, Sierra Leone, Francis’s hometown. When Francis was born in Madina, his parents had already lost seven children, including Francis’s twin brother. Francis’s father had heard of a lady who had been trained as a nurse, and took his son to her.
“The only difference between me and my seven siblings who died was this educated lady,” Francis said. “And that made the difference.”
Francis tried using money from an educator award to finally build a school in Madina. But civil war broke out in Sierra Leone, and the money earmarked for a school was instead used for food and survival. Finally in 2013, Francis was able to open Madina Village School.
“Those little schools, especially in rural areas, you will have 80-100 kids in a classroom. All the teachers have are a piece of chalk, no books, no materials, nothing. This is why what we’re doing there is so critical,” Francis remarked.
The school has now grown to almost 400 students and 13 teachers. When they travel back to Madina, Francis and Bobbie focus on teacher training.
“This time we’ll also be having science, social studies, different topics all on the primary level,” Bobbie said. “This will also be the first time that we’re going at the beginning of the start of the school year. We’ll be able to follow up with teacher training for the first month or more.”