Ben, Helga’s son, loved sports with “experience” such as rugby, down-hill mountain biking, hiking, snowshoeing, mountain climbing, rafting, and the like. On July 6, 2006, he and a friend were training for the annual Seattle to Portland Bicycle Ride. They parted to go home, and an elderly driver struck Ben, just days from his 26th birthday.
Ben grew up in Mississauga, Ontario where he garnered the nickname “Bulldozer Ben” as a tiny tot from plowing into things and still moving forward. He graduated from Trinity Western University in British Columbia with a BS in Computer Science and worked as an IT manager and software developer in Fraser Valley. Along with five of his follow graduates, they formed the “Safari Six” to self-tour East Africa. That experience gave the group a love for Africa. In 2005, Ben returned for four months to help build a school. The Safari Six founded the Wellspring Foundation for Education for the purpose of establishing quality education in Rwanda. Ben served on the Board. A playground at the Wellspring Academy bears the name “Ben’s Boathouse.”
On the Wellspring website, Lisa Edwardson tells about being involved in fundraising through cycling. “In 2006, my close friend Ben Farrant, an avid cyclist, was tragically killed while training for the annual Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic. Ben was a member of the Wellspring Board, and was so passionate about Rwanda and Wellspring’s work there. The following year, I began training for the Ben Farrant Memorial Cyclathon, from Seattle to Portland, in which our group of riders cycled to remember our friend, and to raise awareness and financial support for Wellspring in Ben’s honor. Including that inaugural year, I have ridden from Seattle to Portland six times with Wellspring.” Ben’s Dad has been a part of this fundraising ride a couple of times, as has Ben’s sister Colleen Klatt and her husband. Many of Ben’s friends have joined the annual fundraising effort in memory of Ben. Plus Wellspring initiated a Lake2Lake ride five years ago with Ben in mind. The proceeds help to support Wellspring’s work in Rwanda. This is Ben’s sister (L) Colleen and Lisa ready to ride.
The dream of a small group of college grads has blossomed into something miraculous. Quoting from the website: “Our work started with a tangible vision to partner with a church called Christian Life Assembly Rwanda (CLA-Rwanda) and build a model Christian school called the Wellspring Academy. In the past decade, we have completed the Academy, offered training to hundreds of Rwandan teachers, supported the growth of the Association of Committed Teachers (ACT) Rwanda, and launched our innovative School Development Program, that is currently improving education for 1200+ teachers and 70,000+ children in 48 schools. We are also actively engaged with local and national government and currently chair the Rwanda Education NGO Coordination Platform (RENCP).”
Checkout their website to see how you can enhance this wonderful work which “Bulldozer Ben” helped to create.