At the World of Childrens, we try to do a lot of good. We scour the globe for the best child advocates and vet their work to ensure that they are above reproach. We give these advocates grants for their work and public recognition so that they can attract new partners. We give them an Award that affirms they are among the best of the best in child advocacy. In short, we search out amazing people committed to children and we give them the resources to improve even more young lives.
However, we have a much, much bigger goal that we often mention, but rarely discuss in depth. As we continue to connect with more and more of the world’s best child advocates, we want to create a community around these heroes so that they can use their collective strengths to further benefit children. American football coach Vince Lombardi said “People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the
problems of modern society.” At the World of Childrens, we want to win the battles that millions of children across the world face every day – hunger, slavery, homelessness and other injustices.
In 2003, we honored Ryan Hreljac, founder of Ryan’s Well. To date, Ryan (who is only 18) and his organization have provided clean water to over 685,000 people. This year we were able to connect Ryan’s Well with Sam Kateu, our 2009 Humanitarian Award recipient. Sam runs Kavule Parent’s School for the Deaf, a school in Uganda which provides an education – and hope – to deaf children. Sam’s school is a wonderful and safe environment, but Sam and his students did not have simple access to something most of us take for granted – clean drinking water.
Sam and his students – most between the ages of 7 and 15 – would leave class for at least 1-2 hours every time they needed to collect water, walk to a distant pump (or a covered
springs if the well was dry) and lug water back to Kavule in heavy jerricans. Even worse, these students would often be the victims of taunts and bullying along the way because of their disability. Through the World of Children network, Ryan and Sam connected, and they knew that together they could provide these students with safe access to clean water.
Ryan’s Well initiated the WASH project. They raised funds needed to build a well, latrine and hand washing stations. In addition to this, they are amending some teaching materials
at Kavule to include hygiene education. Construction on the well and latrines is currently underway, and Kavule students and staff are eagerly awaiting its completion. Now students at Kavule will have access to water without disrupting their education. The school will be both healthier and safer.
Sam Kateu and Ryan Hreljac joined forces to accomplish something neither of them could do alone. The well being constructed at Kavule is testament to what we can achieve when
we work together. Children all across the world have needs that may require special collaboration; we plan to continue to find and connect bold heroes who can solve these problems.
To see more photos of the work being done at Kavule, click here.