GAWAD Kalinga (GK) founder Tony Meloto is relentless in the movement’s vision to end poverty for five million
Filipino families by 2024. Having accomplished the first phase of his philanthropic yet highly ambitious plan, his non-governmental organization has succeeded in building integrated, holistic and sustainable communities in slum areas and remote rural locations across the country with a total of 25,000
GK communities, and counting.
Having planted the seed of this kind of “bayanihan” among many benevolent Filipinos here and abroad, as well as foreign supporters of the cause, Meloto has gone full throttle into the second phase of his vision, which is social entrepreneurship.
“We will make wealthy entrepreneurs out of the brightest of the Filipino poor,” he confidently declared at a roundtable on September 2 that included The Sunday Times Magazine. “And this by inviting the brightest of the rich from other nations to work with our promising youths through the GK Enchanted Farms and our School for Experiential and Entrepreneurial Development [SEED Philippines].”
Beside him as he explained his ingenious scheme was a 20 something Frenchman by the name of Louis. Louis, who is a student at Paris’ top business school HEC, has completely devoted his time and talent to helping two promising but underprivileged Filipino youths to begin a poultry business.
“Louis was attracted to the Philippines not because of Boracay or Palawan, but because of the character of the Filipino,” Meloto continued. “He learned about GK’s work through partnerships we have established with 32 European universities, 22 of which are French, which now attracts an average of 250 interns every year.
“The platform aims to promote social entrepreneurship for inclusive growth, bridging Europe through internships and humanitarian service with the Asian market to discover the vast opportunities in the emerging economies, with the Philippines as the hub.
“Louis, whose villa outside Paris I had a chance to visit, wakes up everyday now with his two Filipino business partners to feed and clean 500 chickens. He is also building the business plan for the venture with the aim of making it world class using the knowledge he brings from his country. Now do you see how the brightest of our poor and the brightest of the rich from outside the Philippines makes a perfect partnership?”
Planting the SEED
Touted as the first farm village university in the world, SEED Philippines is the first school for social entrepreneurship in the country to provide an innovative, education-based solution to rural development through education and hands-on learning. The event also aims to encourage individuals and/or companies to donate a classroom, a dormitory, or sponsor a scholarship to deserving students.
GK Enchanted Farm, on the other hand, is part of the organization’s new phase in innovation that integrates sustainability in the rural communities through agriculture and the emerging field of social businesses. Its first prototype is found in Angat, Bulacan.
“Our ambition is simple—in 10 years time, many children of the poor will become successful business owners, not laborers. The basic problem of education is we are educated not to become producers but as consumers. We are educated to be job seekers, not job givers. GK Enchanted Farm addresses the root of the problem which is the lack of development in the rural countryside in partnership with the Philippine government and the private sector, and with strong linkages with universities in the country and abroad.
The organization intends to raise 500,000 social entrepreneurs by the year 2024 to create inclusive businesses with a big social relevance and a focus on agri-business,” Meloto further explained.
To raise funds for the students of SEED and the continued development of GK Enchanted Farms across the country, the Original Spirit of ’67 will mount a benefit concert on October 2 at the Pavillion AB of Wack Wack Golf and Country Club.
Aptly dubbed “Imagine,” the show aims to generate awareness of the farm’s ongoing development programs and to further introduce SEED Philippines to the public.
“The show is about building a Filipino dream,” described Meloto. “Can you imagine the Philippines as the hub for social entrepreneurs in Asia? Can you imagine the country rising from poverty by creating inclusive wealth? Can you imagine the country with no social divide because the best educated Filipinos are using their genius to bring out the genius of the poor? Can you imagine a Philippines without poverty simply because its citizens would no longer allow it? That’s what this whole concert is all about. Not just imagining it’s actually doing, making it happen.”
For ticket information, call 886-4950 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For inquiries on donations to Gawad Kalinga, send an email to email@example.com.