An Irish non-profit has dedicated a new well in Uganda to the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins.
In a ceremony at Áras an Uachtaráin last month, the Irish branch of the Wells of Life charity announced that it dedicated a well to President Michael D. Higgins to honor his life and work.
Pete Callahan, the President of the Wells of Life board, described Higgins as a "well-liked and well-respected public figure" who was much more than just a politician.
"Our Board designated the funds for a well dedicated to President Higgins in recognition of the generosity of the many people in Ireland who have been involved with Wells of Life," Callahan told IrishCentral.
Callahan added that Wells of Life hopes the new well will help give international recognition to the charity's work in the developing world.
"In Uganda, where Wells of Life operates on the ground, one out of five children dies before their fifth birthday because of lack of access to clean, safe drinking water, and 80% of the hospital beds in rural Uganda are filled with patients suffering from water-borne diseases," Callahan told IrishCentral.
The charity has previously dedicated wells to other well-known Irish figures, including boxer Katie Taylor, Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume, and activist Vicky Phelan.
Last year, the charity dedicated a well to the victims of the Creeslough service station tragedy in County Donegal.
Wells of Life is currently in the process of dedicating a well to Irish-born Bishop David O'Connell, who was murdered in his Los Angeles home last month.
"He was a very active supporter and advocate for the work of Wells of Life, and was sadly recently murdered in a senseless act of violence," Callahan said.
Wells of Life was founded in 2008 by Nick Jordan, an Irish schoolteacher who started the organization by raising funds to build five schools in Uganda. Jordan recognized that while education was fundamental in rural Uganda, clean water access was of critical importance, prompting the organization to begin to drill wells all over the country.
It has grown astronomically over the past 15 years and drilled its 1,000th well at the end of 2022, achieving the milestone of bringing clean water to one million people.
Callahan said the charity will likely expand beyond Uganda in the future but added that, for now, its work in the country is far from done.
"Rather than scatter wells at random, we concentrate on a particular district in Uganda, aiming to meet the needs to achieve game-changing impact, while we simultaneously start our work in another district."