Wellspring was created in 2004 in response to the compelling and clearly articulated vision of the Rwandan people who were seeking to rebuild their lives and nation in the aftermath of the genocide against the Tutsi. Their vision was to see schools and lives transformed, and a new generation of Rwandans empowered for the future with a quality Christian values-based education.
When Canadians Jeffery Komant and Richard Taylor, recent graduates of Trinity Western University who were both raised in Africa, began to hear about and be inspired by this Rwandan vision, they recognised the opportunity to help turn this vision into reality. By building an organization and a community of partners in North America who could stand behind and practically support the goal of quality education, the work of transformation could begin … and in 2004, The Wellspring Foundation was born.
Our dream was to see an entirely different type of education emerge, through (1) the development of schools, and (2) the empowerment of educators. And so Wellspring began with the building (in partnership with CLA Rwanda) of a Christian school, the Wellspring Academy, with a vision to raise up a new generation of empowered servant leaders, and to serve as a model of truly transformational education. Since 2007, the Academy, which from the beginning has been Rwandan-run and fully sustainable, has equipped hundreds of students for the future, and has been recognised as one of the best schools in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali.
Our involvement in teacher training at the Academy equipped us early on to focus on part two of our mandate: the empowerment of educators. Through the partnership of a global expert who volunteered her time and expertise, Wellspring was able to begin meaningfully addressing the quality of teaching and learning in the country’s public schools. A small initiative that began with a pilot in three schools eventually became our signature School Development Program (SDP), an innovative and holistic program developed for the Rwandan context that is now impacting over 175,000 children, their teachers, leaders, parents, and communities. From the start, the SDP has focused on sustainability and culture change in each of the schools we work in. Our team of local Rwandan educators not only provide in-service training, but most importantly walk alongside teachers and leaders in their context, coaching, mentoring, measuring progress, and ensuring that the positive change experienced will last.
From these small beginnings have also grown several new initiatives, including our Abundant Leadership Institute (ALI), a regional leadership program for Christian educators with a vision to impact their schools. Our impact has also multiplied over these years through our work with government in seeing systemic change through policy and curriculum development. We have also been privileged to partner with other non-profit organizations working in the sphere of education in Rwanda, and to both learn from and share with these partners as we seek to become a catalyst for transforming education in Africa.
Over a decade on, we continue to marvel at how God took the passion of two young men, the vision of His people in Rwanda, and the dedication of partners on the other side of the world, and weaved together a story that is now impacting hundreds of thousands of lives. As we move into this next season of Wellspring’s story, we hope you will join us!