Water Charity of the Week: Ryan’s Well Foundation

Ryan Hreljac - Founder of Ryan's Well FoundationRyan Hreljac began raising money for water projects in 1998, at age six. When he found out from his first grade teacher that people in other countries were dying because of the lack of access to clean water, he began doing chores around his house to raise money for well projects. After raising $70, his first well was built in Uganda, just after he turned 7. The Ryan’s Well Foundation was officially formed just two years later in 2001.

This Canadian-registered water charity supports several safe water and sanitation projects through partnership with local, non-governmental organizations and people. Ryan’s Well has helped build over 600 wells and over 700 latrines, bringing safe water and sanitation to more than 700,000 people since its inception. People of all ages are encouraged to get involved by making donations, or hosting a creative fundraiser.

We have chosen to feature Ryan’s Well Foundation for #charitytuesday, because of the uniqueness of Ryan’s story. At only six years old, he had a dream that has since changed the lives of thousands of people. Ryan is an inspiration to anyone wanting to make a difference, whether old or young.

The Ryan’s Well Foundation, along with many others, can be found on our list of water charities. If you know of one that is not on that list, please contact us at selwa@filtersfast.com and let us know.


Charity Tuesday: Water Missions International

Water Missions International Bangladesh girl drinking waterWater Missions International was founded by George and Molly Greene, formerly owners of an environmental engineering company when Hurricane Mitch hit Honduras in 1998. Heartbroken by the devastation, they felt the need to assist in some way. After receiving a request for six water treatment systems, and frustrated in their search to find existing systems that would work, they decided to build their own. Upon arrival in the first village receiving assistance, they were greeted by the “River of Death” – a filthy, disease-laden river, the color of chocolate milk. George and Molly treated the river water, using their newly-engineered system, and placed their lips to it to drink, in order to show the villagers that it was safe. Out of this moment came Water Missions International. George and Molly responded to an inner calling, sold their engineering company, and have never looked back. To date, WMI has distributed mini-water treatment systems, which use a combination of chemical disinfection and filtration, to communities in nine different countries. Every mission involves both the spread of clean water, and the spread of the “living water” message of Christianity.

We are drawing attention to WMI this #charitytuesday, because they were recently in the news for attempting to bring relief, in the form of clean water, to Japan earthquake victims. Unfortunately, the country’s permitting process has forced them to put their efforts on standby at this time – which is both heartbreaking and ironic, considering all of the bottled water that’s been distributed since the devastation – but we are hoping that it won’t be for long. Their efforts elsewhere are still going, full force, and in the meantime, you can donate to Water Missions International directly, through their website.

Water Charity of the Week: UNICEF Tap Project

UNICEF Tap Project, Celebrity Tap Pack“When you take water, give water.”

This simple concept is the foundation for the UNICEF Tap Project, founded during World Water Week of 2007, to raise funds for millions of children around the world to gain access to clean water. As we’ve mentioned in several of our posts, millions of people lack access to this basic need. In some nations, women and children must walk more than five miles a day just to collect water for their families. This lengthy process prevents them from other opportunities; children are kept from school, and women are kept from performing other basic, but necessary, domestic duties. Water charities like UNICEF’s Tap Project exist to raise money to support clean water and sanitation solutions in developing countries.

Since World Water Week 2011 is next week (March 20-26), we thought UNICEF’s Tap Project would be the perfect charity to feature on our blog to mark #charitytuesday on twitter. What’s unique about this project is their way of raising money. UNICEF partners with hundreds of restaurants across the U.S., asking patrons to donate $1 each time they order free tap water, during World Water Week. Since it’s inception in 2007, UNICEF Tap Project has raised more than $2.5 million toward clean water solutions.

And this year, UNICEF is teaming up with celebrities on a special “Celebrity Tap Project.” Singers,┬áRhianna and Taylor Swift along with Selena Gomez, and Entourage actor, Adrian Grenier are bottling tap water from their homes. Each $5 donation made to the UNICEF Celebrity Tap Project will give supporters a chance to win a limited edition Celebrity Tap Pack, featuring one bottle of water from each of these celebrities’ home faucets.

While we don’t normally support bottled water, or the celebrity endorsement of bottled water, this is an interesting way to draw attention to the need for clean water in developing nations. It also conveniently drives home the point that most bottled water is nothing more than tap anyway. Even if it comes from a celebrity, we’re willing to bet that most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between their home tap water and the variety that came out of Taylor Swift’s faucet. Still, we can’t help but applaud these four celebrities, and UNICEF, for their innovative efforts.