Ryan Hreljac first began his project to alleviate the shortage of clean water in Uganda when he was in the first grade by raising funds to build a well.
As a six year-old, Hreljac initially saved just $70 of the $2,000 needed to build a well. He later approached others in his community to raise funds for the project, which culminated in a well built at the Angolo Primary School in Uganda.
In the 20 years since, Hreljac and the foundation he founded, the Ryan's Well Foundation, have constructed more than 1,166 clean water projects and 1,245 latrines in countries such as Burkina Faso and Haiti.
His efforts were highlighted on World Water Day, marked by the United Nations in 1963 as a day to focus access to water and pollution concerns globally. The UN noted for the latest anniversary that 1.8 billion people continue to uses sources of contaminated water , while 663 million lack improved drinking water sources.
That number of those lacking access to clean water includes populations living in developed countries too. In the United States, drinking water tainted with lead and deteriorating water infrastructure are problems that continue to affect communities in Flint, Michigan.