What’s Being Done? To provide clean water to the developing world?

When you live the privileged life of most North Americans, it’s easy to take clean water for granted. Thirsty? Take a sip from the water fountain or turn on the tap. Need to wash your hands? Walk to the nearest washroom. Garden looking dry? Simply turn on the hose.

But 894 million people around the world today are not so blessed. Most of them are forced to survive on only about 1.3 gallons of water a day — that’s less than it takes for a single flush on most modern, low-flush toilets. And those people don’t have the luxury of turning on a tap. Millions of them are forced to walk miles to fetch often filthy water — from stagnant ponds or puddles or water holes shared by animals — only to have to walk miles back home. In many impoverished communities, fetching and carrying water becomes a necessary, daily chore that keeps countless girls out of school and puts countless women at risk of wild animals, marauding gangs and rapists on the prowl.

Fortunately, there are caring individuals and organizations that are doing something to help remedy this problem. Ryan’s Well is an organization that began in the heart of one small boy.

Ryan Hreljac was in the first grade when he learned of the great need for clean and safe water in developing countries. With the support of friends, family and the community, Ryan raised enough money to build a well in Africa. In 1999, at the age of 7, Ryan’s first well was built at Angolo Primary School in northern Uganda. To this day, the well continues to serve the community there.

To date, the Ryan’s Well Foundation has helped build over 725 water projects and 916 latrines, bringing safe water and improved sanitation to more than 760,512 people.

It may seem like a drop in an 894 million–person bucket, but each one of those people who have been given access to clean water has been given a significant chance at building a better life.

To read the inspiring story about Ryan’s very first well, check out the CitizenKid Book Ryan and Jimmy: And the Well in Africa That Brought Them Together.

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