“Explore. Dream. Discover.”, these three words are my motto in life and they are the ones that made me travel to The Philippines. I arrived in Puerto Galera on Saturday 26th of May and at that point I wasn’t conscious about the great experience I was going to live… The purpose of that trip was getting to know Stairway Foundation and find a way to collaborate with them during a little more than two weeks and also find out possible future projects and synergies with Spanish organizations. Yes, I knew that my time there was very limited but I hoped that after six years working on the education field I would be able to contribute to this organization somehow.
When I arrived there I found a group a young boys relaxing in a colourful and peaceful place. I couldn’t help looking around amazed by the little details that were making that space unique. For example, the benches were painted with inspirational quotes, Dr. Seuss’ images were all around reminding us to take care of the environment, there was a big theater just in front of the main entrance where some other boys were relaxing and laughing… Whoa… what a wonderful place!
They guided me to Ate Susan, who showed me around and introduced me to Ate Monica and Kuya Lars, the founders of this organization. Something curious is that there they call you Ate or Kuya, that means “Big Sister” and “Big Brother” respectively. What a nice and lovely concept! They briefly introduced me to the different projects I would find at Stairway and offered me the opportunity to explore and discover the place in order to feel comfortable with it and make them some proposals of possible tasks I could help with.
I was overwhelmed to see the huge implication, sense of possibility and hard work of every single person at Stairway in every wonderful project that they are developing. They have gone one extra mile to make sure they are having a positive impact to thousands of people ant to the environment, and this is something that really inspires me. They are always thinking on new ways of doing, new activities, new synergies, new improvements… everything they can do in order to change the world for the better. From giving a home to street children, building a school and a health center in a rural area, creating animations and plays to raise awareness about pedophilia or child sex trafficking, to developing an environmental awareness curriculum for all students at Puerto Galera. Moreover, they are always happy to listen to your ideas and are willing to build on them to make them possible. For example, they encouraged me to do some workshops at the public school because they realized that by doing so I could impact in approximately 400 students (a total of 8 different sessions).
There, I spent almost all my time with the batch of students who were participating in the project called “Residential Program”. They finished it with a great success! Congratulations! 🙂 I got to know first hand all the activities that the team was doing with them in order to empower and enhance their values, emotions, soft and hard skills to help them succeed in life and overcome any possible barrier they could face when leaving Stairway. Family, love and happiness are the three words that I would choose to define what that batch of young boys were experiencing daily at Stairway. I remember with a big smile every time they use to tell me with an incredible positive energy at 6:30 am “Good morning Ate! Let’s go for breakfast!”, when we spent hours dancing and playing the guitar, when I saw them represent The Lorax, or when they taught me how to properly clean my clothes. In every single activity these boys (Dave, Arnel, Carlos, Jose…) welcomed me with a huge proactive attitude, always showing me new points of view and indirectly, teaching me very powerful life lessons that sometimes I forget, like that I shouldn’t take anything for granted.
Time flew and after almost three weeks I had to leave. I could feel a cocktail of emotions: happiness, excitement, motivation, sadness, melancholy… I couldn’t believe that in such a short time I felt so inspired by those 11 boys, Ate Monica, Kuya Lars and all the other members of Stairway. They reminded me 10 key ingredients extremely necessary if you want to change the world: love, passion, sense of possibility, teamwork, grit, resilience, pro-activity, emotional intelligence, humbleness and professionalism.
Thank you all for giving me the opportunity to keeping exploring, dreaming and discovering next to you!
With lot of love,