Loss of our friend and teacher
It is with great sadness that we report the death of our friend and brother, Francis Kanneh, on January 31, 2019. Francis was a teacher who for the past several years served as RESTORE HOPE: LIBERIA's head tutor and head of our after-school tutoring and adult literacy programs. In spite of increasing health challenges, Francis was ever present, always with an easy smile, always helpful no matter the task. He was courageous and dedicated and was beloved by the children, the RHL families, and his friends and colleagues.
Francis was originally from the Vahun District of Liberia; he grew up and attended primary and secondary school in Kailahun, Sierra Leone. He received his initial teachers’ certificate from Bonumbu Teacher’s College in Sierra Leone. Later, after two years at the International Rescue Committee’s Refugee School in Kountaya, Guinea, during the Liberian Civil War, he earned a Diploma for teaching the Integrated Course of Study based on the Secondary School Curricula for Liberia & Sierra Leone.
After the war, Francis returned to Kailahun where he taught at St. Joseph’s Primary School for 7 years, and then for another 3 years at the Musu Kanneh Public School in Kolba City, Kolahun, Lofa County, Liberia.
Poor health forced Francis into an early “retirement” from public school teaching but did not slow him down much. He joined RESTORE HOPE: LIBERIA in 2013 and continued his teaching and meeting with our many students, parents and caregivers, and many area teachers and school principals. His responsibilities as our “Principal” included assessing student needs and coordinating our tutorial curriculum with the curriculum in more than a dozen different schools in the Kolahun District.
RHL and the Kolahun community have lost a friend and dedicated teacher. But we are heartened that Francis' spirit and determination live on in the members of the communities we serve who will take this work forward. His memory prompts us all to rededicate our efforts.
To all our friends and colleagues: you may not have known Francis, but when you see his work, see him in action among the vulnerable kids and families of Kolahun, in rural Lofa County, Liberia, you will recognize the face of dedication and service, compassion and resilience, a man who was gentle yet strong and determined. And you'll see the work of recovery and development based on a holistic, community-centered, grassroots model that has emerged in the aftermath of war and disease.
We hope you’ll enjoy this short video vignette of Francis' work and time with RHL in Kolahun.