GK’s Meloto: Mere charity not working
Gawad Kalinga (GK) founder Tony Meloto Friday called on entrepreneurs to be agents of disruption who could channel changes that we face today toward a world where prosperity is shared across the social strata.
Meloto, speaking to an international gathering of delegates from about 20 countries including Malaysia, France, the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, said one of the things to disrupt was the top-down approach to helping the poor.
“The top-down view is that the poor is the object of charity. We give to them, but we can live with the fact they live in squalor,” he said.
“We must disrupt this view, and being disruptive is not (about) what we do for others, but what we do with our self—to be a kinder person, for a world that is safer, and a community that is happier,” he added.
Meloto, the Inquirer’s Filipino of the Year awardee in 2006, spoke during the opening rites of the fourth annual Social Business Summit at the GK Enchanted Farm in Bulacan.
This year’s summit carries the theme “Social Market: Disruption for Shared Prosperity Now” and focuses on “how disruption, innovation and inclusion can constitute a fertile soil to grow shared prosperity.”
The summit is also intended to promote the Philippines as a global hub, or as Meloto puts it, “a Silicon Valley” for social innovation and the most attractive gateway to Asian markets for inclusive economy.
Gawad Kalinga said the challenges the world was facing needed to be addressed in a collective way to build a better world for all through inclusive wealth creation.
The foundation said its Enchanted Farm offered a unique platform to raise a generation of social entrepreneurs who could carry the conviction that “ending poverty of the mind, heart and pocket is not a mere dream and that capitalism can be enlightened, anchored in social justice and progress.”
Introducing disruption in business and education was fundamental in order to transform the Filipino mind-set and society where no one is left behind, the foundation added.
“Much of the world now is like hell and we are building a piece of heaven here (on Earth),” Meloto said in his keynote remarks.
“We are all abnormal here because the old ‘normal’ no longer works,” he said. “Abnormal people like you will create the new normal, that is why we say ‘disruptive.’”
One of the many social enterprises featured during the summit was personal care products firm Human Nature co-founded by Dylan Wilk—a Gawad Kalinga volunteer from the UK who eventually married Meloto’s daughter Anna.
Founded eight years ago, Human Nature now employs about 600 workers in its head office and in more than 30 stores nationwide. The firm sources raw materials from the Enchanted Farm.
Describing its employment policies, Wilk said the firm made it a point to regularize employees and pay them a living wage of P750 a day, which is higher than the mandated P481 daily wage in Metro Manila.
“We need to change the mind-set that what is given to the poor—like wages from jobs in your enterprises—is squandered in gambling, drugs or drinking,” Wilk said.