Gianna Carlile was 8 years old when she learned about Wells of Life.
Carlile was introduced to the San Juan Capistrano-based nonprofit, which facilitates access to safe drinking water for people in Uganda, through a service organization in which she participated.
Since then, she has spoken about Wells of Life to regional religious parishes, organized fundraising drives and encouraged people to donate.
“I really enjoy it,” said Carlile, now a 15-year-old student at JSerra Catholic High School, on how it feels to help out with the nonprofit. “It makes me happy to see people in Uganda get clean water.”
She has raised more than $50,000 for Wells of Life since 2016. Carlile was particularly motivated to lend her efforts when she heard about girls in Uganda not being able to go to school because they spend their time instead fetching water.
Wells of Life helps provide water for Ugandan residents by either drilling new wells or restoring existing ones. The Christian organization drilled its first well in 2010.
“One hundred percent of donations go straight to building wells,” Carlile said.
The nonprofit was formed by Nick Jordan, an Irish immigrant who worked in the Orange County real estate industry and also raised money for African schools. Jordan, who lives in San Juan Capistrano, became aware of the clean-water access issues for Ugandan residents after taking an overseas trip.
Wells of Life moved into office space in San Juan in July 2022 but regularly has staff on the ground in Uganda who make sure water wells are providing adequate water, Wells of Life CEO Danny Sells said.
Wells of Life recently drilled its 1,000th well, Sells said.
“We’ve been able to bring it to over a million people in Uganda,” he said.
Sells said Wells of Life has been an impactful movement driven by faithful people.
“Wells of Life has become this rallying point for people who step forward with their time and dollars,” he said. “Resources show up, and we’re able to drill wells.”
Carlile is a unique volunteer with the level of impact she’s had in helping raise donations and awareness, Sells said.
“We’re really grateful to have her as a partner,” he said.
In addition to organizing fundraising efforts, Carlile also personally writes thank-you cards to donors. She has also communicated with a few Ugandan pen pals after getting involved with Wells of Life.
Wells of Life will be further raising funds with a 5K run/walk on May 20 in Orange County. Sells said they chose that distance since it’s the same one that many people in Uganda walk to get water.
Participants can register for the 5K or make donations at wellsoflife.org.
Discussion about this post