Water First, a charity addressing the water challenges Indigenous communities face across Canada, has thanked Hollywood stars and philanthropists Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds for a generous donation supporting their work.
According to a release shared by the NGO, the couple gifted them $500,000 which will go towards skills training and education programs so that more young Indigenous adults can become water treatment plant operators and environmental water science technicians.
“Access to clean drinking water is a basic human right,” Ryan shares in a statement.
“Canada is home to over 20% of the planet’s freshwater – an abundance that’s envied around the world. There’s absolutely no reason Indigenous communities should not have access to safe, clean water.”
Blake and Ryan have been in talks with Water First since January this year, learning about the work they do and how to best support them.
Not a typical week at Water First! 😲😍 Our Executive Director, John, was lucky to connect last week with the incredible Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds), who was interested in learning more about our work. We’re so grateful for Ryan’s interest and enthusiasm! pic.twitter.com/hUzj7zxJeX
— Water First Education & Training Inc. (@waterfirstngo) January 24, 2022
Water First is not an Indigenous-led organisation but has been specifically addressing the water needs of Indigenous communities through collaborations with community leaders and customised training programs that align with each communities’ goals.
“We appreciate Water First’s focus on supporting young, Indigenous adults to become certified water operators and environmental technicians,” Ryan continues in his statement.
“These folks are helping to ensure sustainable access to safe, clean water locally, now and for the future. Blake and I are thrilled to support this important work.”
John Millar, the charity’s founder and executive director thanked Blake and Ryan for their “tremendous support” and says their donation “will significantly increase Water First’s ability to offer hands-on skills training to more Indigenous youth and young adults.”
Blake and Ryan’s gift comes days after World Water Day on March 22 and a plea to support Indigenous communities from Autumn Peltier, global water activist and Chief Water Commissioner for Anishinabek Nation.
(Feature Image Credit:Water First)