When we are in need of inspiration, all we have to do is look to people who are building their passions in life. Their stories of perseverance and resilience amidst challenges will not just push us forward but keep us going till we too have accomplished what our hearts are yearning for. This series will feature personalities who have made a difference in their respective fields and communities by following their passion. This month, meet Carlo Delantar, a young man with a purpose.
As millennials would say, #WaterIsLife. Humans can live a few days without food, but not without water. And yet today, there are still millions of people without access to this most basic of human needs.
Enter Carlo Delantar, a man on a mission to change the world, one water filtration system at a time. The inspiring Cebuano is the Country Director for Waves For Water (W4W), a global non-profit organization that provides clean drinking water to people in dire need. As someone who appreciates clear blue waters through his surfing and deep diving exploits, Carlo says, “Clean water access is a start toward creating an amplified social impact in the world.”
‘THIRSTY’ FOR CHANGE
Back in 2013, Carlo was tagged by a friend on a Facebook post that asked for volunteers to help distribute water filters to Visayan communities affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda. Answering the call, his volunteer status gradually evolved into a permanent post after he realized how much he enjoyed arranging the logistics of W4W projects and coming into contact with Filipinos in far-flung places. Carlo admits, “I found myself devoting more time to W4W than my actual work. W4W just kept sending stuff to me, asking me to facilitate missions. [My responsibilities] got bigger and bigger.”
When funding supplied by the non-profit group Reach Out Worldwide started to diminish, Carlo spoke with W4W founder Jon Rose and his team and suggested they set up a non-profit in the country. Carlo shares, “Their reply was, ‘We were just waiting for you to ask.’ Then, they asked if I wanted to be country director, and without knowing what the role [entailed], I said yes.”
WANTED: CLEAN WATER
Despite the fact that the Philippines is a country blessed with abundant natural resources, there are over 8 million Filipinos—mostly living in rural, undeveloped areas—with no access to clean drinking water. This is just one of the many insurmountable challenges Carlo had to face as country director, but it did not discourage him from overcoming them one by one. From deciding on where to establish the headquarters and relocating to Manila to getting accreditation at a snail’s pace and struggling to find companies to tie up with, Carlo had the gargantuan task of accomplishing everything on his own. During those first few challenging months, he learned a valuable lesson which was to “streamline everything. My mind-set was to keep moving forward until I made optimum and impactful progress.”
It also helps that this award-winning philanthropist is a firm believer in looking at the positive side of things, and this positivity flows into his work. Regularly working 12 to 14 hours a day at the W4W office in Makati, he tirelessly leads a lean team of three and continuously organizes projects to set up rainwater storage and filtration systems in remote places across the country. Under his leadership, the Philippine office has already helped over a million Filipinos—a milestone that they originally thought was unreachable. Carlo says, “With partnerships from local government, corporations, and brands, we are making all the right moves due to open collaboration. As fragmented our archipelagic country is, a call to help is a language we all understand.”
PASSION FOR PHILANTHROPY
Carlo urges people to pursue their passions, but to enhance their experiences by doing something worthwhile. He says, “Waves For Water’s philosophy is rooted in ‘doing what you love and helping along the way.’ It’s about following your heart and plugging purpose into your passion. W4W encourages people to look at humanitarianism as a lifestyle, rather than a one-time activity.” He recalls one of his earlier experiences with W4W and the lasting impact it had on him, sharing, “We went to an island to provide a few filters. After the demonstration, a community leader approached us and asked for a few filters. His eyes showed determination that he can help his community. After a year or so, we come back to see a makeshift clean water depot beside the community center. The villagers line up their water containers, and while waiting, they mingle at the community center. The power of that image in my mind keeps me going. How clean water affects everyone—the person, the family, the community, and so on.”
The 25-year-old suggests signing up for W4W’s Courier Program, a non-traditional volunteer plan which is “more of a DIY model that’s meant to be utilized by people who want to travel and have a give-back component to their trip. It’s very simple and very guerrilla by design. [People can create] their own travel experience then [do] crowdfunding on our site to buy filters for their trip. W4W serves as a resource of information and how they may go about distributing once they’re on the ground.” This way, you can combine your passion for travel and discovering new places with philanthrophic work and having an authentic connection with a place through community service. So it’s essentially hitting two birds with one stone.
Melding his passion for nature with his life’s purpose of helping others, Carlo is the perfect example of a modern-day humanitarian. He invites others to come up with creative ways to provide aid, saying, “The world has an imbalance and anyone can contribute to make the world a better place.”
Photos by Geri Cruz, Artu Nepomuceno, and Takeshi Shinohara