Honorary Member   (2004)

Ryan Hreljac - Nominated by the National Council of the EIC

Ryan Hreljac is from Kemptville, Ontario where he lives with his mother, father and three brothers, and attends grade 7 at St. Michael Catholic High School. His journey on the path of becoming a water engineer began with his grade one teacher, Mrs. Prest who was talking about the poor people of Africa and their need for clean water. Mrs. Prest inspired Ryan, who decided to raise enough money to drill a well in Africa. He thought $75. would do the job and he undertook extra chores at home to raise the necessary funds. Taking this money to WaterCan, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing clean water to poor countries, Ryan was advised the $2000 would be necessary. Instead of giving up, he offered to do more chores, and with his family support, Ryan was able to have a successful water-well drilled in Uganda by CPAR, the Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief. This engineering challenge has changed the life of Ryan Hreljac quite dramatically, and his family and schoolmates as well.

Water projects subsequent to the Ugandan well have been completed or are underway also in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Malawi, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania. When he went to Africa in the summer of 2000 with his parents, five thousand people lined the road, cheering Ryan as they visited the completed well.

Ryan Hreljac’s tale was a cover story in 24 Readers Digests around the world, in Macleans, Guideposts,Today’s Parent, Time for Kids, Scholastic Magazine, the OWL Magazine and others in numerous countries throughout the world. His story has been featured in books including two “chicken soup for the soul” books, “The Uncle Johns Bathroom Reader for Kids”, Ta Barron’s “The Hero’s Trail, ”Superkids Two” and “Water Culture”, and Jean-Michel Cousteay’s tribute to the International Year of Fresh Water. Ryan has been a Guest on numerous television shows, including Canada AM, CBC Morning, CBC National News, Graham Kerr’s The Gathering Place and twice on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Japan, Korea, The Netherlands and China have all featured Ryan’s work with documentaries and television shows. His video “Ryan’s Well” is a best seller in Canada, the USA, Australia and the United Kingdom and Ryan has had the honor of laying a wreath at Canada’s War Memorial to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with his Royal Highness Prince Charles. For the past three years Ryan has been the primary spokesperson for the Ryan`s Well Foundation.

As you might expect Ryan plans to become a water engineer when he gets older. His goal is to “work until all of Africa has clean water”. The EIC wishes to support the goals of Ryan Hreljac and to recognize his outstanding leadership. We also are looking forward to him completing his education and becoming a fully-fledged professional engineer.Ladies and Gentlemen, and

Mr. President, may I introduce to you as an Honorary Member of the Engineering Institute of Canada

-Ryan Hreljac



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