After Son Dies, Parents Discover His Last Wish-- And Make It Come True

Indrani Sengupta
"A school grows out of tragedy." Two years ago, a group of 4th graders were walking the trails of Lilydale Regional Park, hunting for fossils.

A sudden landslide took the lives of two of the young children, and injured two more.

Zach Mohamed Fofana

Zach Mohamed Fofana was 10 years old. He was the last of the four to be discovered, his family holding up hope that he’d be found alive.

His father, Lancine, recalled the night before, how much his son had been looking forward to the trip.

"He came to me and said, 'You know we have a field trip tomorrow? I'm so happy.”

Zach Mohamed Fofana Parents

No parent should have to outlive their child. But Mohamed’s parents have been offered some solace in the aftermath of their tremendous loss.

After Mohamed’s death his mother, Madosu Kanneh, came across the young boy’s journal, in which he’d recorded his dearest wish, what he would do if he were President:

I would do everything, and I would give money so school kids can read. And I would give money to the poor people. I would build soccer fields for schools to play in.

Zach Mohamed Fofana books

Mohamed’s compassion had been stirred by a 2010 trip to his father’s hometown in Guinea, where he had seen children playing soccer without clothes or shoes.

Zach Mohamed Fofana

It’s not surprising to see that his parents are possessed of that same compassion. In their son’s memory, the Fofanas are taking the money they received from the settlement over his death and putting it to noble use.


In early June, they began building a school in a town where there are none: Siguiri, a small gold mining town in northern Guinea. This school will teach as many as 400 children who would otherwise have to be sent far away, separated from their parents, to receive an education. Now, these children will have a library, a basketball court, a soccer field. His mother knows this is exactly what Mohamed would have wanted:

Since he’s not there anymore to accomplish that dream, we as parents want to make that happen.

It doesn’t take away their grief, but it builds some comfort alongside it.

Zach Mohamed Fofana Parents

From tragedy to project – is something that comes from Mohamed himself…I wish [he] was on the side of me to see his dreams come true.

Zach Mohamed Fofana school

If you’re interested in contributing to the building of the school, and the continuation of Mohamed’s legacy, check out

Read more: Malala Yousafzai Fund 'To Boost Education'