Home>Service> Awardees of Fervent Global Love of Lives Award> 11th Fervent Global Love of Lives Award 2008> The Hero of the Well -- Ryan Hreliac from Canada
Helping people with water and achieving his dreams for good
      Ryan Hreliac, the founder of the Canadian Ryan’s Well Foundation said that there's one place in the world that needed clean water the most and that place is Africa. When he was in first grade, Ryan had a bad day – he just heard something that made him sad. His teacher told everyone that there were some places in the world where people were so poor they didn't have clean water to drink and many adults and children got sick and even died. Surprised, Ryan began earning money performing chores – he got 2 dollars for washing the windows, 1 dollar for vacuuming the floor, 1 dollar for picking up pine cones, and a few more after picking up branches after a snow storm; but his goal was to dig a well in Africa. 

      Ryan's goal was publicized by "Water Can", a public service organization intending to help the poor nations to have clean water. His action moved the hearts of Canadians and they responded with many donations. Small donations in 30, 50 and more dollars accumulated and became a great amount. One year later, near the Angola Elementary School in Uganda, clean water came out of the freshly dug well. This well was the first gift Ryan and others gave to Africa. Up till April 2007, Ryan has accumulated over 150 million Canadian dollars in his charity and over 286 wells has been dug in 14 nations in Africa, Asia and South America and improved the lives of more than 50 million people. Hence, a dream of a 6-year-old boy Ryan for well digging changed the lives of 43 million plus people in Africa, Asia, and South America. Ryan transformed his desire for good into action and in term, accomplished much. He helped others to realize their dreams for clean water. He's the "Hero of the Well". 

      Ryan Hreliac, male, born in Ontario Canada on May 31, 1991. He's currently a freshman in the West Island College Class Afloat. His father Mark is a police officer in Ottawa and his mother Susan is a consultant for the Canadian government. He has two brothers Jordan and Keegon. After donations came in from all over Canada and other countries thanks to Ryan's desire of digging wells in Africa, in order to ensure the money goes to where it's needed, Ryan, his parents, brothers and other compassionate people established the Ryan’s Well Foundation in 2001. 

      In May 2003, Ryan was invited to speak at the International Conference in Vancouver with the topic “the Importance of clean water to the developing nation”. He invited his pen pal Jimmy, who was his age to participate. Later, Uganda was having a civil war and Ryan's family request the resident alien status for Jimmy using humanitarian assistance as the reason. A Canadian judge granted the status for Jimmy based on the Refugee Convention and Jimmy became part of Ryan's family. This story became famous in the international humanitarian circles. Jimmy is studying hard and running hard and he hopes to be a teacher or lawyer and help more disenfranchised with Ryan. 

      Ryan's “Spring Well Series of Charitable Activities” has often been in the news. He was on TV in the US, Germany, Japan, China, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Indonesia, New Zealand, Australia, and of course Canada. His story was on "Oprah" twice. Ryan met with Pope John Paul the Second, Prince Charles, the prime minister of Canada, Sea Explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau, famous scientist Jane Goodall, athlete Don Cherry, and Olympic gold winner Daniel Igali. These famous people helped Ryan in different ways in educating people the importance of water quality. 

      What's in the future for Ryan? Prince Charles asked him if he wanted to be a pilot and Ryan said he wasn’t sure. Right now he thinks he wants to be a hydraulic engineer. Currently he's continuing his work for Ryan’s Well Foundation and he travels around the world and talk about the importance of water quality. 

      Most importantly, between November 18 and December 11, 2006, Ryan and Her Excellency Michaelle Jean were visiting Uganda and 4 other African nations, and he gave a speech to encourage young people to become volunteers: "Today's young people desire to become part of the society and many Canadian teens are trying to make positive changes and make their community and the world better. Adults understand that children and young people can work and become more valuable by really doing what they say; and young people really understand that they can be benefited from the leader and transformer of the society. 

      In Ryan’s Well Foundation there are people like Dr. Jane Goodall, Raffi, Jean-Michel Cousteau and others that believe the young can do a lot. They have been supporting the foundation and the dream that I had since I was 6 of helping Africa to have clean water. I'm honored to travel with Her Excellency Michaelle Jean on this visit. To me, this is an opportunity of a life time and I have been learning more about Africa. This is the place where Ryan’s Well Foundation has been work for the last 5 years. It helped us to learn how young Canadians can participate in community service works in Africa and all over the world."