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Water Ambassadors Canada has provided clean water to more than 300,000 people in 16 countries.Courtesy of family

The donors: Barry Hart and Heather Alloway

The gift: Creating Water Ambassadors Canada

The reason: To provide clean drinking water for people in developing countries

Barry Hart was attending a conference with his wife in Houston a few years ago, when he heard a presentation that changed their lives.

“One of the guys gave a five-minute talk on the impact of giving people clean water,” Mr. Hart recalled from the couple’s home in Haliburton, Ont. “It just knocked me off my chair.”

Mr. Hart and his wife, Heather Alloway, soon became involved in Living Water International, a U.S.-based charity that provides clean drinking water to people in developing countries. After volunteering with Living Water for a couple of years they created a charity in Toronto called Water Ambassadors Canada in 2004.

The organization works with partners across Central and South America, providing a variety of clean water programs including drilling new wells, repairing existing wells and providing chlorination and filter systems. The charity has provided clean water to more than 300,000 people in 16 countries and every year Water Ambassadors sends teams of people from Canada to work on various projects.

“If there is water available, whatever is the best way to get the water clean is what we do. If there isn’t water available, we drill,” said Mr. Hart, who, like his wife, is a retired teacher. The couple help raise around $600,000 every year to keep the charity going and they make regular trips to projects every year.

Mr. Hart said that setting up the charity and keeping it going, can be a struggle at times. But looking back over the past 15 years, he added: “It’s been totally worth it.”