The daily news so often brings us such doom and gloom about the fate of people and the planet that it can become overwhelming. We may think to ourselves, "How can little ole me contribute anything of worth to improving this morass?" This was the question Ryan Hreljac asked, when informed of the plight of African families struggling without access to clean water. Ryan, undaunted by the challenge before him as a 6 year old school kid, set out to right this wrong. He persuaded his parents to pay him to do extra chores and finally came up with the $75 he thought was needed to drill a well. Turns out that was for a hand pump, a well was more like $2,000. He redoubled his efforts and some months later presented this money to WaterCan. They dug a well on his behalf next to a school in Uganda. Impressive, huh? Not for Ryan it wasn't."When I learned that there were people dying in the world because they didn't have clean water, I couldn't believe it! I take nine steps and there, I have it. Clean water right in my tap. Some people in Africa have to walk for five miles to get clean water. My new brother Jimmy Akana used to live in Uganda. He told me that he would get up at 12 midnight and walk for five miles to get water for his aunt. Then he walked five miles back. He did this three times before he went to school!" Ryan now had a new goal. "I want everyone in Africa to have clean water," he declared.
And in the seven years since, this ordinary, yet extraordinary Canadian schoolboy has raised the many hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to fund 170 water and sanitation projects in 9 countries. So take heart, there is much you can do to make this world a better place. Simply begin by doing the best you can, and who knows where that might lead. Ryan clearly demonstrates that you don't need to be a Bono, a Gorbachev or an Al Gore to make changes. For as Helen Keller remarked "I am only one; but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do". Ryan's Well Foundation via My Hero and PNYV.