Illac Diaz is a former corporate executive who has since gone on to establish several foundations that provide sustainable solutions to societal problems. He is the executive director of MyShelter Foundation, a non-profit organization which has been engaged in improving the lives of many Filipinos through the creation of sustainable solutions by using recycled materials for the building of clinics and classrooms in rural areas.
“MyShelter Foundation was conceived when I observed the shortage of classrooms in the provinces while trying to help solve the housing problem in the province of Negros Occidental, the sugar growing capital of the Philippines”, Diaz explains. By utilizing the endless supply of waste plastic soda bottles at the municipal landfill and local labor, money could be kept within the community and spent on building more cost-effective classrooms. Diaz: “MyShelter Foundation then set up a construction business building upcycled schools, clinics, and community centers. These savings in construction costs could then be channeled by the community to increase teachers’ wages and bring computer technology to schools. Currently, one of the global successes on upcycling has been the Liter of Light project using a used soda bottle, some bleach, and contact cement to make a cheap DIY daylight through the roof of low income communities around the world. This is upgradable to a 2 – 4 watt LED and solar panel night light which can be used to light up homes and streets for another 10 hours.”
Diaz is a Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School and previously finished the Special Program in Urban and Regional Studies (SPURS) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was recognized as one of the Global Leaders by the World Economic Forum, Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World by the Jaycees International, and is an Ernst and Young Innovation Entrepreneur of the Year. He has been awarded the 2015 ZAYED FUTURE ENERGY PRIZE and has recently been accepted as a DUBAI EXPO2020 LIVE grant recipient to showcase his work at the event. He has returned to the Philippines to apply and disseminate his research in needy communities throughout the country.