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Volunteers - Ryan's Well

Ever seen those commercials about underprivileged kids in foreign countries and done nothing more than change the channel? We all have. Because we aren't millionaires, we can't possibly help, right? Ryan Hreljac knows it doesn't take a million bucks, just some extra chores.

One day, Ryan Hreljac's teacher told her students about the sad life of children living in disease-stricken Africa, where there is basically no access to medicine, food or clean water. Ryan listened as his teacher went on to say that hundreds of thousands of African children die each year just from drinking contaminated water. She said it would cost $1 to buy them a hot meal, $2 for a blanket, and $70 to build a well.

Six-year-old Ryan went home and begged his parents for the money to build a well. They told him he could earn the money by doing chores. And that's exactly what he did for the next four months. When he had the $70 he took it to WaterCan, but learned it would actually take $2000 to build the well. Ryan just shrugged and said he'd do more chores. It didn't take long before his story got around and people began donating money. When he was seven the well was built. This was just the beginning for Ryan.

When he was told it would cost $25,000 for a well drill - instead of a hand auger, which needed 20 people working for ten days or more - Ryan began raising funds for the drill. In the summer of 2000 Ryan traveled to Uganda, Africa for two weeks and met the children who now had clean water because of him. And he saw his well - named Ryan's Well, of course.

Ryan is now ten and in the past three years he has raised over $70,000 for clean water and school related projects in Africa. He has also spoken to more than 8,000 students. In May of 2000 he attended the Millennium Dreamers Global Conference at Disney World in Florida. He is a fundraising machine and so far the funds have built more than 30 wells.

To donate money or hear more information about Ryan, check out www.ryanswell.ca/.

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