FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — When Fort Wayne Community Schools teacher Francis Mustapha retired from teaching in 2011, he knew his work wasn’t done. He felt he was being called home for a bigger purpose with a bigger impact.

Mustapha grew up in a small village in Sierra Leone in West Africa. Education was of low importance to many people in his village – but to his father it was everything.

When Mustapha was young and ill, his father took him to see a nurse who had set up a clinic inside her home.  His father told the nurse “We have heard that you have been educated. Here, prove it.”

That nurse, and the knowledge she gained through her education, saved Mustapha’s life. Malaria and other diseases are the number one cause of death in Sierra Leone – and had already claimed the lives of six of his siblings before they were five years old.  

When his father saw what a difference an education can make, he sent Mustapha and his siblings to school. Mustapha then came to the United States – and wanted to teach the importance of education to the youth here.  

He may have retired from teaching, but his work wasn’t done. He splits his time in Fort Wayne and in Sierra Leone. When he’s not visiting his kids and grandchildren, he’s in Sierra Leone, building the Madina Village.

“It’s always been my hope, my goal that someday I’m going to go back and build a school, in that area, and give the children coming up the opportunity to have a education,” said Mustapha.

By 2013, the school was up and ready to welcome students. But there were still high cases of illnesses and deaths among the children in the school, so Mustapha decided his next project was to provide a health center which is underway today.

He says the people in his village never thought they would see anything like this. It’s a dream that became reality with the help of his community in Africa and in Fort Wayne who helped fundraise and donate money to his projects.

If you would like to join his mission and help Mustapha raise money for his projects, you can visit the website.