Gawad Kalinga / Pèlerin

The Farm of Hope 

A very special bond is being created between France and the Philippines. Since five years already, thousands of French young people have gone to the country of 7000 islands with an objective to eradicate poverty and to invent the world that is more just for everybody. The Philippine’s foundation, “Gawad Kalinga” (“to Take Care”) and its charismatic leader, Tony Meloto have set out on the mission to rise millions of people out of the extreme poverty through the involvement of the richest and most educated social classes.

In only few years, the man who is at the origin of this almost utopic concept, managed to establish partnerships with more than 500 major companies (including Air France-KLM, Nestlé, BNP Paris Bas, Shell, etc.) and to attract the golden youth of the Filipino elite, students from prestigious universities from all around the world and young graduates from the best French schools. All of them make the journey with the desire to develop the new ways of doing business. If they do not settle permanently in the Philippines, they all leave transformed by the experience that they intend to reproduce elsewhere.

The reportage is based on the Enchanted Farm, the main village created by Gawad Kalinga, it stretches over an area of more than 35 hectares at the north of Manila. This is where young European entrepreneurs and engineers return to the land, raise chickens or engage in silkworm farming while experiencing new forms of social entrepreneurship. In this innovative and ambitious ecosystem, where rich foreigners and poor Filipinos share their know-how, what counts is not to achieve maximum profit but to apply the main motto of Tony Meloto “Less for myself, more for others and enough for everyone”

text: Catherine Monnet