Building communities to end poverty

Theme: Humanitarian Actions

Country: Philippines
Email Project:
Website Project :

Categories: Humanitarian
Zone: Asia

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Antonio Meloto or “Tito Tony” was inspired to Gawad Kalinga’s mission during his assignment in 1985 at a youth development program for gang members and juvenile delinquents in Australia. He founded Gawad Kalinga in 1995 that helps build homes in poor communities to provide improved living conditions to villagers. The program is now being implemented in almost 2,000 communities in the Philippines and in other three other developing countries, and Tony’s dream is helping end poverty for at least 5 million families by 2025. It has now evolved to become a global movement that builds integrated, holistic and sustainable communities in slum areas. Gawad Kalinga sparks hope in the dream for a poverty free world – one family, one community and one country at a time. Tony has inspired not just his family but hundreds and thousands of volunteers throughout the country and the world to work towards building model communities where the poor can thrive and attain to their fullest potential so that together, we can all look forward to a better future for our children and the generations to come.


Tony MelotoTony Meloto

Antonio Meloto or “Tito Tony” to the countless Gawad Kalinga volunteers and community partners was born on January 17, 1950 to a low middle class family in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. At a young age, he was already exposed to the squalid living conditions of the poor, his home being near a shoreline squatter community where poverty was already very pronounced.

Tito Tony’s natural acumen provided him the opportunity to be an American Field Service scholar, where he took his senior high school year in De Anza High School in Richmond, California. But his big break came when he qualified as a Full Academic Scholar of the Ateneo de Manila University. His college years were dedicated to preparing for a career that would take him and his family out of the poverty of his past. After he graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, he was offered a position as the Purchasing Manager of Procter and Gamble. Eventually, he built his own name as an entrepreneur.

It was in 1985 that Tito Tony’s life took a different path that eventually led him to the inspiring work of Gawad Kalinga. He became an active member of Couples for Christ (CFC) and quickly rose in leadership, becoming instrumental in the setting up of the CFC Family Ministries in 1993. This expanded the reach of the mission beyond couples, to include children, youth and young professionals.