Jeremiah Salunoy (Left) and Danilo Ablen (Right) are just two of the many social entrepreneurs being raised and mentored at Gawad Kalinga’s Farm University.
Gawad Kalinga is raising the social entrepreneurs of tomorrow!
Gawad Kalinga (GK) famed for its goal to end poverty for 5 million families in the Philippines by the year 2024, is one step closer to this goal now that its Farm University has already begun to produce graduates.
GK’s Farm University, the first of its kind in the world, provides underprivileged but outstanding and deserving students from the province, access to experiential and entrepreneurial education, making it a 35-hectare mentorship hub for social business incubation. It enables innovations for socially relevant partnerships between the rich and the poor, urban and rural, micro and macro, local and international, as well as public and private sectors.
Due to the school’s unique and progressive direction, companies like RCBC (Rizal Commercial Banking Corporations) have proudly formed institutional partnerships with the University in order to assist in the development of the Farm University’s promising students.
Two of these bright young minds, Danilo Ablen and Jeremiah Salunoy are perfect examples of all that the University has achieved so far.
Danilo is the founder of Oh GK!, a clever anagram for Oregano, Honey, Ginger, and Kalamansi, all the ingredients that go into his one-of-a-kind health tea.
Danilo found inspiration when last year, GK Founder, Antonio “Tito Tony” Meloto took ill. After many days of medication with no improvement, Tito Tony told one of the Nanays living in the GK Enchanted Farm to create an herbal remedy using the freshly grown produce within the farm. Using an infusion of fresh ingredients, a tea was made and immediately given to Tito Tony. As luck would have it, GK’s beloved founder recovered after only a week. Now, the health tea is a staple in Tito Tony’s everyday meals and he hasn’t gotten sick since.
This fortunate turn of events was what inspired Danilo to begin mass production of the health drink. Now, he supplies Oh GK! to groceries and bazaars all over the nation and just last month earned Php 50,000 from his current roster of clients. His situation now is a far cry from the Danilo of eight years ago. Then, he and his family were struggling to make ends meet, living under bridges and trying to make the most out of what little they had. Now, Danilo is earning more than enough to help out his mother and siblings as well as keep his business afloat.
Meanwhile, Jeremiah Salunoy is one of four other boys behind the successful Puto ni Papa. So aptly named because its founders were all abandoned by their biological fathers. Their main inspiration for the product came from the desire to start a business that ensured they would become successful and dependable men as well as better fathers to their own future children.
From a student at GK’s SEED school, Jeremiah worked hard to better himself through learning, and when Tito Tony found out he was skilled in making puto, GK’s own founder gave him and his friends Php 30,000 to start up what is now a very successful brand.
The recipe for their famed puto is one that was passed on to them by their mothers and grandmothers, one that they lovingly craft by hand and from fresh ingredients every time. Even now, that their business is quickly expanding, they remain steadfast in keeping tradition alive and preparing their puto the old-fashioned way.
Jeremiah is also one of many students who will be traveling to France in the coming months for a summit. There he and his fellow students from GK’s Farm University will be sharing their experiences, interacting with other students all over the globe, but most of all they will be presenting their successes and the fruits of their labor.
Danilo and Jeremiah are not the only ones whose lives have changed within the vast compound of Gawad Kalinga’s Enchanted Farm. Many other bright young men and women now have promising futures ahead thanks to the mentorship and guidance they received in GK’s Farm University.
All of them serve as an example and an inspiration to the rest of the country. That with the right guidance and perseverance, anyone can achieve success in their own right.