The Ryan’s Well Foundation grew out of the determination of 7-year-old Ryan Hreljac, who upon learning that people were dying because they lacked access to clean water, decided to raise enough money to build a well.

Since 2001, the Foundation has financed over 600 water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects in schools and communities in 16 countries; as a result, over 685,000 people now have access to safe water and improved sanitation.

The Foundation has a number of on-going projects in Northern Uganda, an area formerly plagued by the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency. Because of the last several years of relative peace, people have finally felt safe enough to leave the Internally Displaced Persons camps and return to their villages. Not only do WASH programs provide much needed clean water, sanitation and hygiene education, but they help people come together to rebuild their communities and rebuild their sense of hope after living with the rebel conflict for so many years – hope for their communities, their lives and their futures.

In February 2010, I accompanied Ryan’s Well representatives on their monitoring trip to Northern Uganda to visit project sites and meet with their local partners. I was overwhelmed by the reception we received from school children and members of the communities we visited; I could feel their sense of hope. They were so grateful to have access to such basic needs of water and sanitation facilities, which most of us in North America take for granted. In the words of one young man from the Obutu Village, “Ryan’s Well Foundation, thank you a lot. You have already saved our lives.”

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