Tony Meloto: founder of Gawad Kalinga, social entrepreneur and builder of dreams

All the greatest adventures stem from dreams. In order to succeed in its major international development projects, Ahimsa Fund needs visionaries from around the world.  Individuals whose ideals for a better world serve as a basis for real action on the ground. Tony Meloto, of the Philippines, is most certainly one of these pragmatic dreamers! Founder of the Gawad Kalinga association, he one day dreamed up the idea that a link could be formed between renowned chef Paul Bocuse and the shanty towns of Manila. In 2017, that dream became a reality, thanks to collaboration between Tony Meloto, Ahimsa Fund and the Paul Bocuse Foundation.

Sharing and caring: how Gawad Kalinga came into being

Tony Meloto has already lived another life, as a strategy manager for the Proctor & Gamble group, where he worked for 20 years. Acutely aware of the problems facing the underprivileged populations of his country, he was gradually drawn towards the charitable sector, eventually making the radical decision to live in the shanty towns of Manila, with his wife and children, for eight months. This immersion would mark the start of his second life and lead to the creation of Gawad Kalinga, an association that runs numerous innovative social entrepreneurial projects with the most underprivileged populations.

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Gawad kalinga means “Sharing and caring” in Tagalog.

SEED school: education at the heart of social innovation

The SEED school is one of the wonders brought into being by Gawad Kalinga. The school takes in down-and-outs from Manila's shanty towns – young people whose family circumstances are extremely challenging (mothers with no recourse but prostitution, fathers in prison, siblings on drugs, etc) – and offers them an education in order to help them out of the downward spiral. bearing witness to the project's success. Jean-François de Lavison, founder of Ahimsa Fund, summarizes the secret to the project's success as follows:

One of these young people will be attending the Ahimsa Forum 2017, bearing witness to the project's success. Jean-François de Lavison, founder of Ahimsa Fund, summarizes the secret to the project's success as follows:

« If you can help a desperate young person to hope again, there is nothing they cannot do. »

Indeed, the results have been startling. Demonstrating an impressive ability to learn, some students master English in a matter of months, so much so that Tony Meloto is already hatching new projects with them in mind…

Tony Meloto et Gawad Kalinga

Ahimsa Fund, the Paul Bocuse Foundation and Tony Meloto: funding and project realization

Tony Meloto secretly dreamed of involving Paul Bocuse in his association and giving the SEED school's young students a taste of French culinary know-how… After a meeting with the president of the Paul Bocuse Foundation, arranged thanks to Jean-François de Lavison, followed by a fund-raising evening hosted by Ahimsa Fund and the Paul Bocuse Foundation, and conference dinner chaired by Tony Meloto, the dream became a reality!

In early July, two students from the Paul Bocuse Foundation set off for Manila. Alongside Tony Meloto, they will teach young Manilans from the shanty towns all about French cuisine! In parallel, these two students will compile a book of Filipino recipes, with proceeds from sales serving to fund the project. The project will enter a new phase in September, with the arrival of two Filipino students at the Bellerive hospitality school in Vienne, France.

Filip Hosek, a Czech student at the Paul Bocuse Institute and one of the lucky two on his way to Manila, told us before his departure that he was excited “to be taking part in something so much bigger than [himself]: a project with such a major impact and for a good cause, where we can put ideas into practice and see immediate results”. Dreams of progress, a thirst for sharing, and a strong desire for real results… This is what motivates us at Ahimsa Fund !


Tony Meloto is one of those extraordinary individuals who can build innovative projects destined to change the world of tomorrow. He and his association, Gawad Kalinga, at which the Filipino saying “walang iwanan” (leave no-one behind) is a way of life, are outstanding partners to the Ahimsa Fund. We are proud to support our partners in achieving their dreams, which we share. What about you? Would you like to take part in our dreams? Help bring the Ahimsa Fund's innovative projects to life by becoming a donor.