Back in 1998, Ryan Hreljac was a 6-year-old Canadian first grader. Like many first graders he heard about kids dying because they didn’t have clean water to drink. He also heard that some kids his age had to walk 6 or 7 kilometers to get a drink of water before going to school. He was beside himself with grief. However, the story didn’t stop there.

Instead of hearing this terrible tale and going outside to play, Ryan got busy raising money. After convincing his skeptical parents that he really intended to do something to help, he got busy. In fact, he got real busy for four months doing all kinds of extra chores around his house so he could earn enough money to build a well at a school in Uganda. After working for that long he learned that his $70 would only pay for the pump handle to go on top of the well. He actually needed $2000 for the whole well.

Unstopped, he raised the money. His well was finally built in 1999 and to this day those hard-earned first $70 continue to provide fresh clean water to thousands of people.

Ryan didn’t stop with one well. He ended up creating a Foundation that has raised over a million dollars to provide clean water and healthy sanitation to people who previously didn’t have such a luxury. Since that first well, Ryan has been tirelessly dedicated to the Foundation (Ryan’s Well) and its work. He’s developed speaking skills so that he can travel all over the world raising money and awareness of the need for clean water throughout the world.

Ryan’s family has been very supportive of his efforts to help those impacted by the global water and sanitation crisis and to empower others to get involved. His African pen pal Jimmy Akana, who met Ryan on his first trip to Uganda, is now a member of the Hreljac family. He also makes presentations around the world on behalf of the Foundation.

A kid’s book has been written covering the really interesting details of Ryan’s story (that we left out). You can see his book here.

Check out his Foundation by visiting Ryan’s Well.

Image Source Ryan’s Well
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