Part of Monsanto’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) is their partnership with Gawad Kalinga (GK), a non-stock and non-profit organization. Monsanto is supporting thirty (30) students through GK’s School for Experiential & Entrepreneurial Development (SEED).
The Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm is a 42-hectare facility located in Angat, Bulacan. This is where they train thirty (30) deserving youths to be entrepreneurs and able to establish their own enterprise.
As highlighted by Mr. Mark Lawrence Cruz of GK, “we don’t want to help the poor, we want to end poverty.” He hopes that through the GK programs which are focused on the poor Filipino youth, they can get out from their financial hardship and maximize their potentials. To make them (SEED students) realize that poverty is not the end of the line but starting point to aim higher and bigger.
Before the media tour, four deserving and eager student-scholars from different provinces in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao has presented their developed respective products with goals of establishing their enterprise to support their families and communities.
While all of them came from the bottom of the social pyramid and has experienced hardship and extreme poverty, they all believed in making a difference in their lives despite the hurdles.
Gladys Parohinog from Buenavista, Agusan Del Sur said she wants to end her family’s hardship of transferring from places to places. She is thankful she was chosen as one of the Monsanto scholars and beneficiaries of GK SEED. She developed product called ‘FabuRoots’ or an industrial product made from root crops.
This powdered root crop product can be used in baking, ice cream, and shakes. Their target market is for wide distribution of this products on businesses that specialized in these foods.
While Cherry Siglos from Amlan, Negros Oriental who was a former call center agent believes that choosing to be a GK & Monsanto scholar is one of her best decision in life. She developed product called ‘Coffee Story’, a cocoa-iced coffee with coconut milk.
She is now in the process of putting up her enterprise with start-up fund from Monsanto.
Jeson Estorba from Tanjay, Negros Oriental said that being in GK helped them [student-scholars] to gain their human dignity. He believes that despite being poor, he can go further which made him possible through the scholarship of Monsanto.
Jeson’s product is the ‘Keso-Beso’ cheese made from carabao’s milk and organic spices and herbs and preservative-free.
John Paul Jose from Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya, his place is part of a tribal group in Luzon, among the poorest of the poor. He expressed his gratefulness to GK & Monsanto for empowering them as an individual while simultaneously empowering their communities.
His product is the camote chips or cassava chips that are abundant in his community. He aims to help his community through his product using their root crops as the main ingredient. His camote chips will be served in the Philippine Airlines’ airplanes soon.
Through GK & Monsanto’s collaboration, these youth from different parts of the country proves that being poor is not a problem but because of lack of support and opportunity. Despite no great name behind their names and smothered in hardships and poverty, these student-scholars are making their way to the top. Armed with dreams and commitment to giving back to the society and with goals to flip the social pyramid, putting the poor people on top. (Ehlorra Mangahas)