Over the last 14 years, Mary van den Heuvel has helped to build wells in small, rural villages around the world.

In 2000, Mary founded the Wishing Wells Society. It was an idea that began decades before, with Mary’s family and their support of the Coady Institute in Antigonish, N.S.

A priest from India became a close family friend and when he died in 1998, Mary asked his brother what she could do to honour his memory.

“He wrote back saying that a village was in need of a well, was wishing for a well. So we had a fundraising concert and we raised a thousand, over a thousand dollars more than we needed that first year.”

In 14 years, the society has built more than 50 wells and water systems in India, Africa, and Haiti.

The wells provide clean drinking water for families and irrigation ponds enable the growing of crops.

With updated photos of every project, it's easy to see how Mary is able to harvest volunteers for the cause. 

“You tend to get excited because she's excited and that's important,” says board member Linda MacDonald.

“She's busy all the time,” says society treasurer Mary Ann Forbes. “People are attracted to her because of that, I think, and they realize the impact of what we're doing and they like to get on board.”

Mary says she is grateful for all the local community support for Wishing Wells. She describes the cause as a source of satisfaction for everyone, enabling clean water to flow in places where it's most needed.

“It's easy for us to kinda stay in our bubble and just say, ‘oh you just turn on the tap, right?’  But, the reality is that children are dying because of unsafe water,” says Mary.

Congratulations to Mary van den Heuvel, our Maritimer of the Week!


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Maritimer of the Week

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