A profound truth.

Imagine you’re a six-year-old. You’re listening to your first grade teacher tell the class that people are getting sick and some are even dying because they don’t have clean water. She explains those peoples’ predicament in such detail that the story sticks in your mind long after you step outside the classroom. You see the drinking fountain in the hallway that provides clean water for you and your classmates every day. You go home that day and talk to your parents about it. Then you embark on a course that will change your life forever, along with the lives of hundreds of thousands of people half way around the globe.

Ryan Hreljac of Ryan's Well Foundation, and his friend Jimmy

Ryan as a young boy with his Ugandan friend Jimmy Akana

I love this story because it’s true. And it’s an inspiration to anyone who thinks that one person can’t make a difference. It’s the story of Ryan Hreljac, who began his journey as a first grade kid in 1998. He tells his story here.

With the support of friends, family and the community, Ryan raised enough money to build a well in Africa. In 1999, at age seven, Ryan’s first well was built at Angolo Primary School in northern Uganda.

Ryan's Well Foundation: digging for a water tap in Uganda

Digging a line for a water tap in Uganda

Ryan’s story has grown into The Ryan’s Well Foundation, bringing safe water and improved sanitation to over 824,038 people.

Ryan's gift: clean tap water - Ryan's Well Foundation

My advice to anyone is that in order to make a positive change in the world, you need to find something you are passionate about and then you need to take steps to act. For me, the issue is water and sanitation.

Water is essential to all life. I hope my story is a reminder that we can all make a difference – it applies to each and every one of us. – Ryan Hreljac

Ryan is living proof that you don’t necessarily have to know how to draw or paint to be an artist. All you need is a vision.

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