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June 2002



  Ryan's Well


 By Aruna Mallya Gupta


Ryan with penpal

Ryan with Peace (goat)

Lalita Krishna 


Toronto-based  producer, writer and researcher, Lalita Krishna  has won phenomenal acclaim for her one-hour documentary “Ryan’s Well” which was broadcast to a national Canadian audience on Vision TV in November, 2001. Krishna, who has over two decades of experience in film and television production  has had several of her documentaries  broadcast on TVO, WTN, History, Bravo and Vision TV and has had a recent nomination to Hot Docs.


“Ryan’s Well” is an inspirational documentary about the most valuable resource of the millenium-clean water. It is the story of a 6 year-old Grade 1 student from a small town in Ontario,  who gets inspired by the words of his teacher and takes on the herculean task of raising $2,000 for digging wells in Africa.  This moving tale takes you into the intimate atmosphere of the simple Hreljac home where unknown to this unsuspecting,  family of five, a star is on the rise. Starting with chores around the house and yard, Ryan’s sensational project gathers such tremendous momentum that a whole school and soon the whole town is pitching in to see his dream come alive.


The documentary opens to a huge standing ovation by the students of Angolo Public School in Uganda who are the recipients of Ryan’s well. A visibly moved mother escorts the wisp-like Ryan out of the car that has brought him into this small community, where he is accorded all the honours of a visiting dignitary. Seeing the fruition of his dream and actually drinking from that well, coupled with the bonding of the two pen pals, Jimmy from Uganda and Ryan from Canada added just that  right touch of poignancy.


What started with a dream to provide clean drinking water also led to fundraising for $25,000  for  a drilling rig, school desks, maps and soccer balls,  There was no stopping this wonder boy,  whose insight had worked miracles for the students of Angolo Public School.


Since his return, young Ryan (now 9) has been a motivational speaker at schools. So, with all his agenda, does he still have time to do the things normal kids his age do? ……..Ryan’s response, “You can be a kid and think of Uganda too.”