Skoll Foundation


Laughter, Excitement at Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship

March 29, 2012 by

It’t not often that, in one night, you get up and dance to Annie Lennox singing live, watch two short films about human trafficking and deforestation, and give five standing ovations for social entrepreneurs who are changing the world. But it all happened tonight at the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship, and it was magical.

You can watch the video above, and hear our newest Skoll Awardees speak of how this award — a three-year operating grant — will help them serve even more of the poor. There was Antonio Meloto and Jose Luis Oquinena of Gawad Kalinga, who build homes and transform slums in the Phillippines. Arbind Singh of Nidan, who helps garbage collectors, construction workers and other laborers get equal rights. Tim Hanstad of Landesa, who secures land rights for the world’s poor. Jim Taylor and Debbie Aung Din Taylor of Proximity Designs, who work in Myanmar selling affordable water pumps that allow them to grow more crops.

CEO Sally Osberg, master of ceremonies, gave a captivating talk about the parallel between what Daniel Schechtman did to win his Nobel Peace Prize and how “the battle of social entrepreneurs everywhere – is forcing society to reconsider its conception of the very nature of human progress, of how we carry out business, construct and hold our governments accountable, tap and replenish natural resources — how we survive and thrive, together.”

The short film about The Visayan Forum Foundation, showing how they are saving children from human trafficking in the Philippines, caused the audience to give a standing ovation to founder Cecelia Flores-Oebanda and her son, Kip. The film included moving scenes of Cecelia walking onto ships and literally rescuing children before they could be sold.

The end of the night, when Lennox sang and played keyboard to some of her most popular songs, was stunning. We all loved her “riff” at the end, when she mentioned Jeff Skoll and social entrepreneurs. She said she had fun, and it showed. We know we did.

Congratulations to our winners.

For even more coverage of the night, check out highlights from the Tweets attendees sent out during the ceremony: Read about the rest of the day at


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