This lady has become a very bright spot in my life and work here in Kenya. Everyday that I walk into the New Hope Kibera compound, she lights up with a big smile and greets me. She always compliments me and makes me feel like a celebrity just walked up, and I am the celebrity. I have come to adore her, trust her and laugh with her often. Madame Francisco Mutunga is the Deputy Head Teacher at New Hope Academy in Kibera. I like to tell everyone, she runs the place. And, while many people come together to accomplish our work, Madame Mutunga is the solid cornerstone that holds it all together. She is loyal, hard working, bright, and has a deep integrity. She loves her family and has made the New Hope family part of her own.
I sat down with her to talk about her work and views on leadership. I love her concise yet thoughtful responses to my questions.
Q: How long have you worked at New Hope Academy and what position did you start in?
I have worked here at the school since 2006. I started as a teacher, teaching math, Kiswahili, science and CRE to Class 4, 5, & 6.
Q: What was the school like then?
Q: Why did you become a teacher?
First of all, I wanted to work with children and mentor them. Secondly, in the teaching profession, as you do the work you can learn more. That was appealing to me - to continue learning while working.
Q: Now, that you are in administration at the school, do you miss teaching?
Yes, I miss it, so now I try to find time to be in the classroom as much as possible. I teach science, to Class 4 and math to Class 5.
Q: Who has been the most influential leader in your life and why?
When I was young, my father died, so my uncle took care of me. My aunt (his wife) became very influential in my life. She taught me the realities of life and many things that have helped me in my life.
Also, Head Teacher, Festus, has influenced me and taught me many things in leadership and real life situations.
Q: How do you define leadership?
Leadership is the ability to direct and involve yourself and others in planning and doing certain things.
Q: What are your hopes and dreams for the students of NHA?
Many of our students come from poor families who stay within the slum all their lives. My hope is that God would help them learn and get a good future and help their families leave the slum and get a better life than they have
By Lauren Allgood - NHI Kenya Leadership Director