Micelim Geloso used to steal bananas to feed her family. She also used to steal money from the pockets of her teachers to be able to survive. She could barely speak English, much more talk in front of strangers. Now the 18-year old social entrepreneur of Friendchips of Gawad Kalinga’s (GK) School for Experiential and Entrepreneurial Development (SEED) can talk in English before a big audience, speak in French and able to manage her banana and camote chips business. After finishing her two-year business course from the GK Enchanted Farm University, she is now an “intern” putting to good use the knowledge she derived from the GK University. She also delivers talks to inspire others to keep believing in themselves and persevere to improve their skills to be entrepreneurs with a social mission.

Micelim and Mark Lawrence Cruz, Head of GK SEED were special guests during the Gawad Kalinga Hope Ball last 21 October 2017 at the Grand Star Receptions. Mice delivered a heartwarming testimony on how she started the journey from being too poor that her family’s next meal was a challenge, her mother telling her that she cannot enter University, stealing food and money to survive, to becoming an articulate entrepreneur travelling places and inspiring the poor that there is hope. Looking back, she said her wake up moment came when GK Founder Tony Meloto caught her stealing bananas from the GK Enchanted Farm in Bulacan. Meloto told her, “Before you eat that banana, plant it first.”

Now, Mice is a proud entrepreneur even showing to the Melbourne guests samples of her banana chips. The GK school, she said, has taught her the proper way of planting, harvesting, processing and selling bananas for profit.

Philippine Honorary Consul to Victoria Felix Pintado, in his opening speech, said that Filipinos possess a unique core value called “diskarte” (strategy) where in times of difficult situations Filipinos learn to adapt, be creative and survive. The new generation of GK Filipino entrepreneurs are exhibiting this “diskarte” to gain financial freedom that will ultimately benefit their family and the country in general. The abundance of business opportunities in the Philippines will one day propel the country to progress.

GK is a Philippine-based movement that aims to end poverty for five million families in the Philippines through social entrepreneurship. Families are being taught the right skills and training so they can become entrepreneurs. The GK Enchanted Farm University was created to teach the young members of the poor communities to conceptualise and operate businesses so they achieve financial freedom. GK has also been building houses for the poorest of the poor through the bayanihan system, with GK Founder Tony Meloto’s vision of restoring the dignity of the poor.

Marisa Vedar, GK Australia head, is the overall coordinator of the GK 2017 Hope Ball.

Jessica Yu, GK Provincial Head of Capiz, was also part of the GK Philippines delegation who visited Australia.

For more information, visit the GK website: http://www.gk1world.com/

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