Riding for Rwanda

The Lake2Lake Ride for Rwanda was launched in memory of Ben Farrant, best friend of Wellspring executive-director Richard Taylor.

Peter Nikkel in Ruhanga Primary School in Gasabo Kigali

Surrey high school teacher Peter Nikkel and his wife Janice are part of a team riding 220 kilometres for The Wellspring Foundation for Education’s Lake2Lake Ride for Rwanda Oct. 1 and 2.

The Lake2Lake Ride for Rwanda was launched in memory of Ben Farrant, best friend of Wellspring executive-director Richard Taylor.

It was 2006 when Farrant, then 25, was killed in Langley while training for the 300-kilometre Seattle-to-Portland ride to raise funds for Wellspring.

“Ben had poured himself into helping found Wellspring, determined to help heal a nation decimated by genocide,”  said Helga Farrant, Ben’s mother. “Ben would be so proud of each rider.”

“Wellspring is making a significant difference in the lives of thousands of children in public schools throughout Rwanda” said Janice, who has been recruiting riders. “And I want to find partners here to help expand the work.”

Peter is a music and English teacher at Princess Margaret Secondary School.

During spring break, Peter and Janice went to Rwanda and saw the work of Wellspring first hand.

“Not only has Wellspring created one of the top schools in Rwanda with The Wellspring Academy, but the School Development Program that currently works in 41 public schools impacts over 50,000 children and is gaining attention throughout Africa as a proven method of transforming the next generation,” said Janice.

Wellspring has also helped create and support a network of more than 800 teachers called The Association of Committed Teachers (ACT Rwanda).

More recently, the Rwandan government has invited Wellspring teachers to train all the school inspectors throughout the country.

It has been 17 years since the 1994 genocide that decimated Rwanda’s education system, political stability and health care. The genocide has been compared to three 9/11s every day for one hundred days.

Since 2004, the Langley-based Wellspring Foundation for Education has been working with Rwandans to empower a new generation of leaders through education that transforms lives.

Wellspring wants to help Rwanda overcome its huge educational gap and accomplish the goal of transitioning Rwanda towards a service-based economy by 2020.

If you would like to join the ride, visit www.lake2lake.org. If you wish to help the Nikkels reach their goal of $5,000, you can make a secure donation at www.thewellspringfoundation.com/lake2lake/donate.

Surrey North Delta Leader

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