In 1998, when Ryan Hreljac of Canada was in grade one, he learned from his teacher, Mrs Prest that people in many parts of the world were dying because they didn't have clean drinking water. Being moved by this revelation, Ryan immediately decided to raise money for helping people to get clean water. He worked for four months, doing some simple household chores, in order to earn his first $70. Ryan’s first well was, thus built at a school in a Ugandan village in 1999 when Ryan was seven years old.
From that first $70 grew the Ryan’s Well Foundation (RWF) that has till date contributed to a total of 546 water and sanitation projects in 16 countries bringing clean water and sanitation services to 663,901 people. The Foundation has raised millions of dollars.
In spite of the fact that today Ryan attends the University of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, he remains dedicated to the Foundation and its work. He speaks passionately about the need for clean water around the world, and has visited over two dozen countries in spreading his message. He has made presentations to hundreds of schools, churches and civic clubs, and more than two dozen international conferences and global events including Rotary International and the World Water Forums. He is recognised by UNICEF as a Global Youth Leader. Ryan has also met some of the most important people in the world, including Pope John Paul II. Today the Foundation’s projects include
1. Build: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene projects, 2. Educate: Youth in action program, on water conversation, and 3. Motivate: How you can make a difference.
Ryan’s is truly an amazing story of determination, motivation, inspiration, action, and change. He continues to be a role model with a clear message – that every person on the planet deserves clean water, and one voice can make a huge difference.