A Heartfelt Goodbye from Andy Harrington
It’s hard to believe that eight years have passed since I wrote my first letter as the C.E.O. of Wellspring. It’s harder still to know that this will be my last one, as I have grown to love this organization so much.
Back in 2012, under the gifted leadership of Richard Taylor and Jeffrey Komant, Wellspring was just completing the building of the Wellspring Academy and had embarked on its signature School Development Program, working with 50,000 children and their teachers and leaders in the Rwandan district of Gasabo. Since then, we’ve grown and developed in ways we could never have imagined. We now work with over 200,000 children and 3,300 teachers in 134 schools across the country, also supporting parents in hundreds of communities. We are a trusted partner in the Rwandan education system and are able to speak with expertise and authority in international forums about the impact of quality education. With the launch of our new strategy, Vision 2024:For Every Child, we believe that we can impact the education of two million children by 2024 and see change across the nation and beyond. We’ve come a long way.
And that makes it all the harder to walk away from something as special as Wellspring. Though I am excited about the wonderful opportunity to lead the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, it’s hard to leave the team I love and it’s hard to write my last letter to you, our partners who have made this growth over the last eight years possible. Yet, there comes a time when we have achieved what we set out to do and we know it is right to step away. God has shown me that this is that time.
Over the past few months, I’ve been in awe at how this team has risen to the challenge of the COVID-19 crisis. They’ve reached new heights of compassion and excellence in response to the needs in Rwanda. I am humbled to have served alongside this group of incredible people. As I hand the reins over to the incoming C.E.O., Kevin Dixon, I trust that he will lead this team to even greater heights in Wellspring’s vision to be a catalyst for transforming education in Africa and to foster vibrant communities that address poverty in all its forms.
As I reflect on my time at Wellspring, I think of the faces of the children and teachers I have met in Rwanda. I remember the girl who was illuminated by sunbeams in a tiny classroom, the very day we felt God inviting us to join Him in the Rubavu District. I remember the boy who wanted to be a doctor as he told me that he could finally see a path to that future because of how Wellspring transformed his school. And I remember the teacher who wept as he described how he used to beat children until Wellspring’s training sparked a change in him, and how he now loved his students and saw it as an honour to be their educator.
These are profound memories of the transformative work of Wellspring, and I am deeply grateful to have played even the tiniest role in them. Above all, I am thankful to God for all He has done and continues to do through Wellspring. We have followed His invitation and He has never let us down. As Richard, Jeff, and I said at our first leadership meeting all those years ago: It’s not about us, it’s about Him.
I end both this letter and my time at Wellspring with a simple message of gratitude. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being part of this adventure. The journey continues and now I join you as a supporter as together we cheer on the Wellspring team in the years to come. There are still mountains to climb, but as we have discovered time and time again, with God, all things are possible.
With the deepest of appreciation,