When Ryan Hreljac was six years old (in 1998), he was stunned to discover that many children in Africa had to walk long distances every day to get fresh water for their families. Soon after, Ryan determined to build a well in an African village to help alleviate the problem. He earned money for doing his chores at home as well as speaking at various places about the issue of clean drinking water.
His first well was built a year later at an elementary school in a Ugandan village. Since then, Ryan has established his own organization, Ryan's Well Foundation. The foundation has finished more than 650 projects in 16 countries, impacting the lives of more than 700,000 people.
Ryan is now a college student and continues to work closely with his foundation. He says:
My advice to anyone is that in order to make a positive change in the world, you need to find something you are passionate about and then you need to take steps to act. For me, the issue is water and sanitation.
Water is essential to all life. I hope my story is a reminder that we can all make a difference--it applies to each and every one of us.
Obviously, then, Ryan Hreljac is considered a "global citizen" because he is does his philanthropic work around the world rather than just in his own country or on his own continent. Even more, Ryan demonstrates a concern for all people in all places, which is indicative of what is called global thinking. Being a global citizen means he puts the best interest of people over his own interests or his own country's interest, and his concern is focused on something that will truly make a difference to the lives of others.