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Ryan Hreljac  

Founder of Ryans Well, bringing drinking water to thousands in Africa

At only 24 years-old, Ryan Hreljac has been a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, shared the spotlight with Prince Charles, dined with Prince Edward at Buckingham Palace, attended church with Queen Elizabeth, and has collaborated for years with the world renowned Dr. Jane Goodall. As a little boy, during a class project, Ryan learned that there were children in Africa who were not going to school, and even dying, because they did not have clean water to drink. He became determined to help and that determination raised the money to dig one well, then another and another. Now, 17 years later Ryan and his organization have brought life-enhancing safe water, sanitation, and hygiene education to more than 800,000 people in Africa, India, and the Caribbean. Hreljac has received numerous awards including the Order of Ontario, the Canadian Meritorious Service Medal, the Top 20-Under-20 Youth Award, and World of Children’s Founder Award. His work has also been featured in dozens of textbooks and hundreds of books and magazines including Time, Christian Science Monitor, People Magazine, and Reader’s Digest. He is recognized by UNICEF as a Global Youth Leader and by CNN as a CNN Hero. With more than 17 years’ experience in international development, community development, motivational speaking, and facilitation — across North America, Asia, Africa, Australia and Europe — the work of this 24-year-old and his foundation has become the story of countless people, young and old, from around the globe who are inspired to make a difference either in their own communities or, like Hreljac, in faraway places.

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