Ryan Hreljac began his charity work when only 6 years old. In class, he learnt about the lack of safe drinking water in some African villages. He was so affected, that he did errands for pocket money and eventually earned enough to buy a well for an African village. A decade on, Ryan has raised $1.5 million for 265 water sources in 10 water-poor countries. He has become a recognised Ambassador for water and participated in several major global events such as the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Millions aspire to him as a role model, consistently pursuing his selfless dream of everybody in the world having access to safe water.
Since Positive News last reported on Ryan Hreljac, exciting and successful developments have unravelled with this remarkable young man. He is now collaborating with actor and producer Matt Damon and his charity H2O Africa’. Together they are working in the Lira and Oyam districts of Uganda to improve water, sanitation and hygiene standards in schools. They aim to provide wells, latrines and hand-washing stations in 20 of them. The wells include 5 deep, 10 shallow, and 10 well rehabilitation sites.
Furthermore, they intend to educate the students and staff about healthy hygiene and sanitation in 90 schools. This will result in leaving a positive message that will influence the community’s lives as they spread the word. Local ownership and maintenance of all water systems will be encouraged throughout.
Awareness and money is being raised from both charities using various schemes. For example, a promise whereby every dollar contributed to Ryan’s Well’, will be matched by Matt’s H2O Africa’. In order for the project to be fully successful, they hope to raise 200000 dollars. Another main aim is to start building wells and latrines in September 2007.
Matt Damon founded his charity to create wide spread public awareness and support for countering the water crisis in Africa. He works in conjunction with Running the Sahara’, a project where three men ran 4,300miles in 111 days. The purpose was to raise money and awareness for the importance of safe water.
Everyday Ray Zahab, Charlie Engle and Kevin Lin ran roughly 60 miles, the equivalent of two marathons, regardless of terrain, climate or injury. Along the way, they met with the people whose lives they were trying to improve. Their experiences and revelations were documented in an online diary, designed to educate and persuade others to support their cause.
The trio travelled through Senegal, Mauritana, Mali, Niger, Libya and Egypt, crossing nine different eco-systems. Naturally, there was some hardship within the group, due to their gruelling task. Mental blocks, viruses, shin injuries, exhaustion and government denial to enter countries being just a few. However, this only strengthened their unity and resolve for their cause. As runner Charlie Engle said, “Our struggles drew us closer to each other”.
Having started in November 2006, the runners completed their groundbreaking expedition in February 2007. Running the Sahara’ was documented by filmmaker and Oscar Award-winner James Moll. Produced and narrated by actor Matt Damon, it is expected to be viewed by American audiences this autumn.
Richard Klopp, Executive Director
The H2O Africa Foundation
230 South Elm Street
Zionsville, IN 46077
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