Camilo Bonilla

Where Camilo is from

Bogota, Colombia

 

Interview

What was your dream when you were a kid? What was the reason?

My dream when I was a kid was to be a Marine Biologist in Australia. I loved whales and wanted to swim with them in their natural environment.

 

What was your dream when you were 18 years old? What was the reason?

My dream was somehow unclear in my early years. I knew I wanted to do something related to creating something exponentially positive for society, but I was still not sure which path to take. I got frustrated when I realized how much larger and complex the world was after I was introduced to the world beyond my privileged and sheltered home. I was sad to see that others lived without the love and care I had received. I took this as a call to action. The deep frustration about this larger – real – world, paradoxically got me inspired.

 

What made you start thinking about social entrepreneurship/social enterprises? When was that?

The term social entrepreneurship first appeared in my life during my studies in university. The concept made a lot of sense to me since I had experience with the struggles of funding and managing charitable organizations after founding Una Sonrisa por Colombia while in high school.

 

How much do you think social entrepreneurs play an important role in the world?

I think is difficult to say “how much,” but I believe that the best contribution social entrepreneurs offer the world is proving that the world´s most pressing issues really can be solved with courage and action. Social entrepreneurs to me are a proof of perseverance, outrageous thirst of change, and commitment to make it happen. After stumbling many times, social entrepreneurs never give up until they find a way. From my point of view, social entrepreneurs as a collective unit, capture the hope of today’s world, because they work for a better life for all even though they know it’s not easy. They don’t give up. They thrive, they collaborate, they are outsiders and insiders, they are possibilitators. And to me, that’s what the world needs now. Possibilities: new ways, new paths to deal with the complex problems we are facing. For the world, rather than saying how important they are, I will say how important they should be. People should be looking at them, digging into the emergent and proactive response to negative circumstances, admiring and following that compassion, their smart, strategic, resilient way of living that allows them to create change – all the while keeping their heads cool and their hearts warm. This is what makes them (and should make them) critical players in the development of human kind´s future.

 

What would you say to future social entrepreneurs / those who are interested in social entrepreneurs?

Today’s world seems both frightening and inspiring, depending on where you look. And that’s life. But you can either stay and watch depressing news on the TV every day or do something to make things change. There is no need to postpone the action because you don’t feel “ready”. In fact, we learn how to make change by practicing change making now. And this could happen in our homes, in our schools, in our workplaces, in the places we visit, and most importantly, in ourselves.  There is always a place to start, and starting is the most important piece of a long but fulfilling way forward. Sometimes you have to jump in.

For the ones that are already on this track, let us not despair, cause these efforts that arise as a reaction to some of the most frustrating events in the world is what, to me, holds a spark of light for the future. We need to come together, start somewhere, imagine, co-create, stumble, and make things straight, for a future where our steps united become a world changing giant step. This might sound idealistic, but being committed to making the ideal come true is a proven game changer.

 

What is your favorite quote? Who said that quote?

“Utopia is like the horizon. If I walk two steps closer, it moves two steps further away. If I walk another ten steps, it will run ten steps more. As much as I could walk, I will never be able to reach it. So, what is the point of utopia? The point is: To continue to walk. ” – Eduardo Galeano

 

Who Camilo is

First of all, Camilo has a beautiful voice. His voice is low, heavy and so deep it feels like you want to hear it more and more. Second of all, and this is truly his essence, Camilo is the most caring and kind person that I have ever met in my life.

Camilo attracts and magnetizes people. No one would hate him, it is impossible to dislike him. How come? Because every word that comes out from his mouth, every action that he takes and every behavior that he has are human oriented. Everything that he does is for each person in front of him, whoever you are. That is Camilo.

Have you ever experienced meeting those who are great storytellers? Those people who try to sound great and inspirational, but use too many “sound good words,” so that they just fly through you like an arrow but don’t actually hit you? It means that those words were like “blah-blah-blah” for you and never stayed in your head. Well, Camilo is the absolutely an opposite person. Each of his words is like a drop of water. Every single word that comes from his mouth reaches the bottom of your heart as if the drop were soaking into the soil, and the words make you grow as if they were drops of water growing a  plant. Not only that, he listens to you and takes in each word from you. As a proof, he reacts to each end of your sentences, with not only “Uh” or “Mhm” but more like, “totally” or “absolutely.”

Actually, Camilo is the one who pushed me to start this MSE blog project. He loved my blog and believed that this project would be great from the beginning and encouraged me to go for it. See? I am not just a witness of what I described about him — I already experienced it and took action because of it.

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Awesome Episode

Camilo is building Quantica, a social enterprise startup that provides educational programs for potential social entrepreneurs in Colombia. He also created the Social Entrepreneurs Community Facebook page for future potential social entrepreneurs and co-organized the MSE Retreat with Alison. It was a 3 day trip to a rural area in the woods and we spent a very relaxing time by playing cards, games and talking in a big house surrounded by nature. We were literally “retreated” by the wonderful event. He is a true leader, great at involving people, and always at the center in groups. People listen to him very intently.

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According to what I have talked about Camilo, you might have an idea that he cares about people as a group, but he takes care of individuals as well. This is what happened to me. When we were on the first break after the first module at school, he was in Colombia and I was in San Francisco. Even though we were apart and he was having fun in his local places, he texted me, saying, “K!! My friend!! How did your holidays go?? I hope you enjoyed and wish you all the best for this New Year. I hope we can get to know each other deeply. I was very happy to see that you finally shared your blog!” He did not only make my day but also it was the moment that we became lifelong friends. Everyone, this is Camilo, my sweet, sweet brother.

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The Power of MSE

What Camilo is holding is a symbol called “go-en(ご縁)”, which means ‘fate’, ’destiny’ and ’special tie.’

I believe that it is meant to be that we met in San Francisco! I studied Social Entrepreneurship with Camilo for a year, saying “We will make the world a better place.” I would love to spend the rest of my life with MSEs (Master of Social Entrepreneurship; my classmates) until the very day I die. They have already completely changed my life.

At the same time, however, I also think that we should not be together all the time, because that is not the reason why we learned Social Entrepreneurship. That is not how we will deliver the impact we want to give to society and to the world.

I think MSEs are like dandelions. We were seeded at the first day at Hult and we bloomed on our graduation day. Our mission is that we spread all over the world like dandelions and seed the future, the next generation, from each place where each of us has landed.

本当にありがとう(Honto ni Arigato-); Thank you very very much for everything!! The world needs you! Let’s make the world a better place together!!

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