By: Olivia D.
For a 6 year old, raising $70 dollars to make a well in Uganda,Africa sounded easy. Just ask Mom and Dad and they would give it to you, since it was for a good cause.Right?But that’s not what it was for young Ryan Hreljac. His parents told him he had to earn the money to build a well by doing chores. Would that stop Ryan? No, because Ryan was passionate about saving, enriching, and improving the lives of others. Therefore, I would like to nominate Ryan’s Well for the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award.
Ryan was born May 31,1991, in Ottawa,Ontario and has an older brother named Jordan, and a younger brother Keegan. His parents are Susan Hreljac and Mark Hreljac. It all started in first grade when his teacher told the class about kids in Africa that got sick from the water there, and it costed $70 dollars to build a well that could bring them clean water. Ryan couldn’t stand knowing that some people got sick from water while he could have clean water any time of day, and when his parents said he had to make the money on his own, that’s just what he did.
Ryan had to do many chores to raise $70. His parents thought he wouldn’t stay with it, that he would do it for a day or two and then give up, but they were all wrong. Why? How could a 6 year old do this by himself? Well, it just so happens that Ryan has the perfect qualities of a humanitarian, such as perseverance. For instance, after he had raised $70, he and his mom went to WaterCan to buy a well. WaterCan explained to him that $70 would buy a handle, and a well is $2,000. Ryan raised more and more money, and people started sending in checks until he had $2,000! Once the well was built, a well builder in Uganda,Africa told him that he could buy a drill for $25,000 that would make even more wells all over Uganda.Ryan wanted to do it, and he did.
The Ryan’s well foundation started in 2001, after Ryan had raised enough money to build his first well in 1999. Since 2001, the foundation has built a total of 880 wells and helped more than 824,038 people.Ryan’s Well has inspired many people to make a difference in the world.
The Ryan’s Well foundation’s projects include: In Haiti they taught sanitation and built a well;they built 3 wells in Ghana and they taught sanitation and hygiene in Togo. In Uganda, they’ve found a safe way to clean water for 9,560 people!
In school, Ryan’s teacher assigned pen pals and Ryan got a boy named Jimmy, that lives in a mud house in Uganda, Africa. His parents disappeared when he was little, so he was raised by his Aunt Sophia.He spoke a language called Lwo.He was said to be born in 1989, but no one is sure. His real name is Akana Jimmy, and he lives in Agweo Village. He started school when he was 8, and that’s were one of Ryan’s wells where built. One fall night in 2002, Jimmy woke up to screams. Yelling people burst into his house. He and his cousins were tied up taken outside. It was the LRA, which stands for The Lord’s Resistance Army. They were taking him and his cousins, Daniel,James,Isaac, and Milly to be their soldiers, but Isaac was too old and he might get killed. As they were walking, Jimmy found slack in his rope. He signaled to Isaac to try to get himself out too, but he looked away. Jimmy later on said that he could either run, or get killed, and he chose run.
Jimmy had to get out of Africa, and luckily Ryan and his family could help. It took a long process, Including going on a plane from Kampala,Uganda to London,England, all the way to Toronto,Canada, to be with his new adopted family of Mark, Susan, Jacob, Keegan, and Ryan. Ryan’s family made a life changing impact on Jimmy.
As the years passed by, Ryan has successfully helped the lives of others, and Ryan’s Well still places wells around the world. It started with a 6 year old boy, and now is an organization that helps ensure the health of people around the world. That is why I would like to nominate Ryan’s Well for the Robert Burns Humanitarian award.
“I can and I will” - Ryan’s Well
"About Us." Ryan's Well Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2014. Citation 2 Shoveller, Herb. Ryan and Jimmy: And the Well in Africa That Brought Them Together. Toronto: Kids Can, 2006. Print. Citation 1