Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 14, 2008
Give dignity to the poor – anti-poverty advocate
Empower people, says Tony Meloto
By CELIA PAZ DE CASTRO
"Religion is not an opium, but a fuel of growth and development,"
"GK is part of the solution of eradicating poverty. It is a proof of greatness of the spirit," he said. "In GK, the focus is the Source (Jesus) of our lives. It is about loving the people that Jesus loves the most - the poor."
Meloto spoke about the GK 777 Project that began in 2003 in the Philippines with the aim of building 700,000 homes in 7,000 communities in seven years.
With the grace of God, prayers, sacrifices and the cooperation of many individuals and groups, it can happen, he said.
It is easy to forget about the plight of the poor when one is living a comfortable life, Meloto said. How can the rich who have never experienced poverty empathize with the poor when the poor, themselves, often forget what it's like being poor just because their status in life has improved?
"Success doesn't mean anything if the Philippines remains a poor Third World country," he said. "We have to restore dignity in our poor people. We have to rise above our biases and judgmental attitude. We need to help everyone regardless of who they are.
"Practise more Christ-like ways and talk less," he exhorted.
GK is a pillar of the organization Couples for Christ and most of those who attended Meloto's talk belong to that organization.
But now, Meloto said, it has become "a pillar of every Christian organization, as well - to be owned by everyone. It is of the Lord, not of personalities. It is about looking at the heart and not the pocket.
"It is about focusing on the wealth of ideas and making partnership with others in building communities for the people of God. It is about re-building a nation by the faith of the people. Religion is not an opium, but a fuel of growth and development," he said.
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