Berjaya founder launches restaurant for poor, rural areas

23 Jan 2017 / 11:39 H.

BULACAN, PHILIPPINES: In a pledge to donate half of his entire wealth to charity, founder of the Berjaya Group of companies Tan Sri Vincent Tan today funded and launched the Berjaya Garden Restaurant and Culinary Centre (BGRCC) to benefit the poor in the rural areas here. 
The construction of this centre in the village of Angat, will benefit the community by giving poor students in the area an opportunity at an education in culinary arts. 
The centre is part of the GK Enchanted Farm, which is a platform to produce social entrepreneurs, help local Filipino farmers and create wealth in the countryside. It is also touted as the first of its kind "farm village university" in Asia. 
All food coming out of these kitchens are locally produced, sourced and processed and apart from educating students, provides a livelihood for local farmers. 
The farm was built by Gawad Kalinga (GK) a Philippines movement that aims to end poverty by enabling the poor with the right tools to restore their dignity and forge a sustainable livelihood. 
"We (Berjaya) are very pleased to be working with such a dedicated movement. When I read about them I thought they were a fantastic organisation, so I decided to help out," Tan said during the launching ceremony. 
"I have pledged to donate half my wealth to charity and I am still young so I want to contribute to society. We owe it to society," he said. 
The culinary centre was launched in 2013. After three years of running just as a training centre, it needed a complete reconstruction to meet demands from rising guests and tourists at the farm. Berjaya Philippines donated RM2.37 million to construct the BGRCC. 
Chairman of the Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation, Tony Meloto said the culinary centre has already generated 300 jobs for the poor. 
"We are helping develop the biggest tourist attraction in the province. We work with Berjaya to do good that makes good business sense, there will be no more hunger and no homeless people in this town," said Meloto. 
In addition to the centre, Tan pledged to build 3,000 homes for the poor in the country when he heard that GK had helped almost a million families in building homes for them. 
"To emphasise the admiration and respect I have for GK, I want to pledge that we will raise it up to 5,000 homes. A thousand is done and we were supposed to build 3,000 but we will increase that to 5,000," he said in his speech at the Global Social Business Summit 2017, where the BGRCC was officiated. 
He said Malaysia should also emulate the GK movement in building homes for he poor and he is trying to get the ball rolling in Sabah.
"We are working with a minister in Sabah, hopefully we can do this quickly back home," he said. 
Tan has committed approximately RM27 million to the construction of housing units for Filipinos affected by Typhoon Sendong and other natural calamities as well as poverty stricken families across the Philippines.

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