Feels Like Home by Tony Meloto – GK Founder

Dear GK family and friends,

This is a photo of 2,000 diners at the LH‎ Positive Economy Forum at San Patrignano, Italy, served by former drug addicts who have become experts in culinary, hospitality, winery, furniture making, agri-business, food processing and product design. Sounds and looks familiar!

San Patrignano is the biggest facility in the world for the rehabilitation of 1,500 former lost young men (75%) and women (25%) of Europe, some coming from affluent families as far as Russia. It is a 4 year stay-in program to restore the dignity, confidence and productivity of the wayward through love, work, fun ( life is beautiful and joyful principle), mentorship and empowerment. They have served 20,000 former drug dependents with a 72% success rate compared to the global average of 18% in rehab centers. It is located in a 200 acre facility founded 38 years ago by 23 privileged and educated Italian men and women in their 20’s and 30’s who wanted to build a kinder environment because the world of cutthroat competition and consumerism was driving the young to isolation and heroin. It is in the middle of a vast vineyard and winery (ran by the community), with a stable of fine thoroughbred horses (and a showcase stadium for competition), a big furniture factory(with famous Italian designers), a big restaurant that seats 2,500 diners(with two branches in Milan) and an air-conditioned convention center with 1,200 seating capacity and modern media facilities and equipments.

It feels too much like the GK Enchanted Farm despite our being only 4 years old and without the resources of rich Italians to build a world-class facility and a better life for the bright and striving poor in the rural areas who deserve the best mentorship in social business, education and tourism. Our dream to help 20,000 of the deserving poor of Bulacan will become a reality soon with the opening of SEED Philippines(School for Experiential and Entrepreneurial Development) at the Farm on August 11 with the help of Crédit Suisse and AF/KLM, with a fantastic team of local and foreign social entrepreneurs/mentors and big support from CHED, TESDA and DepEd. I can just imagine what the GK Enchanted Farm will look like in 7 years and how many more we can build nationwide now that the 122 State Universities and Colleges(SUCs) are studying it as the prototype for the Social Business Hub that they will build in their province.

Last night, a big audience of delegates and local residents were moved to tears at the showing of the French film(dubbed in Italian) on the GK story and our work with drug addicts and the gangs of Bagong Silang. It was a moving experience for me to see with my eyes how our faith journey is touching an all-European audience, as I was the only Filipino (and Asian) in the Forum.

French economist and founder of LH Positive Economy Forum Jacques Attali sees GK as the Asian model of inclusive and sustainable wealth creation and wants‎ to check if the LH Forum can be held in Asia in 2016 at the GK Enchanted Farm Social Business Hub. I’m sure it will happen if God wants it to happen. We never dreamed that the opening session of the WEF for Global Shapers on May 20 would be at the Farm. It turned out to be a memorable experience for most of them based on their social media feedback.

It’s true. Build and they will come.

Thanks to all who believed in the dream and have helped build it with their prayers, encouragement and generosity.

‎Tony Meloto


2 Responses. Have your say.

  1. Lyn Mamaril says:

    It is indeed heartwarming to know that Gawad Kalinga spearheaded programs to alleviate the poor and uneducated but deserving sectors of our country. Now GK is the Asian model. More blessings to Tony Meloto and all the wonderful
    people in this movement.

  2. GAWAD KALINGA stepped up its caring above and beyond its much-acclaimed housing-for-the-poor initiatives with the “Enchanted Farm project.”
    Responsible and environment-friendly social entrepreneurship will engage and involve the youth who are longing to move on– free from the encumbrances of their elders.
    The older generation should graciously pass the torch and provide the logistical support to the youth who have the chance to forge a brighter future for our homeland.

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