Tomorrow Makers

Ryan's Well Foundation Challenge

Participating schools will have the opportunity to continue Ryan's dream of clean water and sanitation for all. Not only will students help change the lives of those living without clean water, they'll learn that, like Ryan, it doesn't matter how old you are or where you live, we can each make a difference in the lives of others!

i2P Expedition Africa2012 - Ryan's Well Water Projects

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  • Active Countries: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Haiti, Kenya, Togo, Uganda
  • Wells Completed: 724
  • Latrines Completed: 916
  • People Helped: 760,512

The Challenge: Build clean water and sanitation projects and empower others to get involved!

The Ryan's Well Foundation is a family of people committed to delivering access to safe water and sanitation as an essential way to improve the lives of people in the developing world. We empower citizens of all ages to take action and effect change in the world.

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Ryan's Story

My story is really very simple. One day in January 1998, I was sitting in my Grade One classroom. My teacher, Mrs. Prest, explained that people were sick and some were even dying because they didn't have clean water. She told us that some people walked for hours in Africa and sometimes it was just to get dirty water.

All I had to do was take 10 steps from my classroom to get to the drinking fountain and I had clean water. Before that day in school, I figured everyone lived like me. When I found out this wasn't the case, I decided I had to do something about it. So, I went home and begged my mom and dad to help. After a few days, they told me I could do extra chores to earn the $70 I thought would build a well. I thought that's all it would take to solve the world's water problem. I worked for four months to earn my first $70. Then I learned that it was actually going to cost $2,000 to build a well in a place like Uganda. I also learned that the problem was way bigger than I realized.

I started speaking to service clubs, school classes, to anyone who would listen to my story so that I could raise money for my first well at Angolo Primary School in Uganda. That's how my little Grade One project became the Ryan's Well Foundation.

I am now a fourth year student at the University of King's College in Halifax on the east coast of Canada. I am studying international development and political science but remain involved with the Foundation as a speaker and Board member. I speak around the world on water issues and on the importance of making a difference no matter who you are or how old you are.

My work would not happen without the support of my family and friends. My Ugandan pen pal, Jimmy Akana, who I met on my first trip to Uganda, is now a member of our family. Jimmy is an inspiration because he works hard and has a positive outlook. He always has a great big smile.

My advice to anyone is that in order to make a positive change in the world, you need to find something you are passionate about and then you need to take steps to act. For me, the issue is water and sanitation.

Water is essential to all life. I hope my story is a reminder that we can all make a difference - it applies to each and every one of us.

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For over 10 years, Ryan's Well has worked with inspiring individuals and groups, like i2P, to highlight the many ways clean water and sanitation change lives. Children, especially girls, are able to go to school rather than spending time collecting water. Women are empowered and can dedicate more time to income-generating activities. Overall health improves, reducing the spread of dangerous and often preventable diseases. With access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene education, communities are provided with the tools to lead healthier, more prosperous lives.

Fiscally Responsible

Each year, we focus on keeping our administrative costs as low as possible. Our small, efficient team is critical to the Foundation's mission of improving lives and effecting change in the world. A portion of all donations supports administration. On average, 80-85 cents of every dollar donated directly supports our charitable programs.