A Litttle Good Can Go a Long Way

How a six year old changed the world.
by Good News Staff Writer | Source:
One day in 1998, six year old Ryan Hrejlac asked, “Mom, Dad, can I have $70?” “What for?” they asked. “Today, in school we learned that for just $70 we can dig a well for the people in Africa so that they can have clean water,” he replied,” and I want to help.” His parents didn’t give him the $70, but they offered him the possibility to earn it by doing extra chores.

Ryan began to pray every day, “Dear God, please help me to get the poor people in Africa clean water.” Finally, after four months and hundreds of chores for Mom and Dad, for Grandma, and for neighbors Ryan triumphantly placed a very heavy cookie jar of $75 in change on the desk of Nicole Bosley, director of WaterCan – an organization that digs wells in Africa.

“Ryan, thank you so much for your gift,” said Nicole, “However, I need to tell you that this can only buy a hand pump. To dig a well is about $2,000.” What did Ryan do? More chores of course!

After nearly a year of chores, earning a few dollars a week, a couple of newspapers ran an article on the boy, and then a TV station picked up the story of “Ryan’s Well.” Soon WaterCan received the $2,000 to dig a well. Ryan visited Nicole again to let her know that he had decided to have his well built close to a school so that the children could bring water home everyday. This time he found out that this well would be dug by hand, because even just a small drill costs $25,000. So the seven year old kept on doing chores, TV interviews and public announcements.

In the meantime, Ryan began to add to his daily prayer, “…and please help me to see my well one day.” Only eighteen months later many generous people made it possible for Ryan, together with his mom and his dad to visit Uganda in July, 2000.

As they entered Angolo, the site of Ryan’s well, hundreds of villagers lined the road chanting, “Ry-an! Ry-an!” He finally saw his well, and the inscription on the base, “Ryan’s well, funded by Ryan H.”

That was only the beginning. Afterwards the little boy started Ryan’s Well Foundation (www.ryanswell.ca) and has helped install more than 70 wells in Africa. All this, because Ryan wasn’t afraid to do some good and his parents didn’t stop him from doing it. 

-Information taken from Faith & Family magazine, Spring 2004

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