AROUND 500 corporations have worked with Gawad Kalinga (GK) to provide land, homes and livelihoods to the poor, but more individuals and companies need to get involved, GK’s founder challenged business leaders in Cebu.

The movement’s goal: end poverty in the country by 2024.

“We are now in partnership with many local government units and businesses in building communities for the poor and by 2024, we hope to achieve the goal of supporting 44,000 barangays in this country,” said GK founder Tony Meloto.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

He reported during the One Cebu Summit last Monday that there are 400 mayors who have pledged their support for the foundation.

Since GK began building houses in 1995, the organization has now built 2,000 communities all over the country, with 57,000 houses directly supported by the foundation and 150,000 more in partnership with the government and business sectors.

It has provided 10,000 hectares of land all over the Philippines, “for the building of communities.”

Gawad Kalinga is an organization that hopes to mobilize all sectors of society to provide community organizations, low-cost housing, and educational and medical assistance to the poorest of the poor among slum dwellers.

Building houses creates environmental and social opportunities for the poor while inculcating the values of honesty and integrity, Meloto said.

“Our goal is to look at the bottom of the pyramid. We want to turn the poor, uneducated and undeveloped Filipinos from liabilities into assets,” he added.

In Cebu, GK hopes to bring together 5,000 volunteers from all over the world to help build a more than a hundred houses in Bantayan Island next year.

“Volunteers from the United States, Europe and other countries will come here to support our goal of ending poverty in the country. They will be helping around 160 families to have homes,” said Meloto.

GK has built 11 villages with more than 500 houses in Cebu Province, with an ongoing GK village with 150 houses in Minglanilla—but believes the Cebuano community can do more.

In September, a two-story condominium with 86 units in Barangay Lorega, Cebu City will be set up by the organization.