35C - “Together, we can end poverty”

Antonio  Toni  Meloto is a wealthy family man who quit his well-paid work at Procter & Gamble in order to dedicate his life at eradicating poverty. Face to face with this great man.
Toni Meloto is the president and founder of Gawad Kalinga, an association dedicated to fighting poverty in his country, the Philippines. His approach is based on common values shared by both poor and wealthy and on which a community can be built. The rule: none is above the other. His social approach to poverty is based on seven principles that have to be applied within these communities. These seven principles are: construction of the village, employement, healthcare, education, ecofriendly environment, self sufficiency, teaching of values and the creation of social businesses. Today, thanks to his work, 2400 communities have been built throughout the Philippines, affecting the lives of nearly a million Philippines. He accomplishes his work thanks to the help of a million benevols. Today, his life's work has earned the nickname of the Philippines' Silicon Valley due to his ahead of the curb vision of social entrepreneurship.
We ased him a few questions during the World Forum based in Grenoble for one day.
Harry Jennings: Why leave Procter & Gamble ?
Antonio Meloto: I am the father of four children who worked for a transnational firm and who lived in comfort and safety. Meanwhile, in the slums, poverty and violence was increasing. Squatters living in inhuman conditions. I went to the slums to talk with the drug traffickers, the prostitutes, the unemployed … You have to understand them in order to help them. The poor and the rich should be a family. How can you not help them.
H.J: Can social buiness work throughout the world ?
A.M: Poverty is the same everywhere. So it's possible to export this model and it will be done. The first communities were built in Asia but the knowledge will be spread to the rest of the globe. My dream regarding the spread of these communities is to spread the model in Africa and especially the Francophone part of Africa first.
H.J: Do you have advices for young people who want to become social entrepreneurs
A.M: Don't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and to dare and aim for greatness. People should never settle for mediocrity . You have to surround yourself with partners who share your convictions and your will to change things. This is mandatory, you can't do it all alone ! Surround yourselves of other young people that are not corrupted and, most importantly, do not be afraid of the future. You are the answer to the problems you see.
H.J: Could the President Duterte have an impact on your work ?
A.M: I don't care for politics and religion because my calling is to serve his country, not to rule it. He has no term during which I will serve his country: It's my permanent mission.
H.J: What society do you dream of ?
A.M: I dream of a society where there are no enemies or victims.
H.J: Do you think poverty can be ended in our lifetime ?
A.M: Yes ! And it begins with ending poverty within yourself.
H.J: What message would you like to give to the youth ?
A.M: Do not be scared by the problems that you see around you. Have the courage to believe that you are the solution to these problems !
Harry Jennings - ESPOL Lille