Building confidence through sailing

April 2012

After early Sunday morning football practice, the Stairway children spend the remainder of the day sailing at the Puerto Galera Yacht Club's Youth Dinghy Program.    About 30 children in all show up eager to learn this fascinating and challenging water sport. Donned in bright yellow life vests and lots of sunblock, they rig-up their Optimist and Lawin dinghies and set out sailing.

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Arts for Empowerment

April 2012

How often do former street children get to learn ballet, hip-hop, pop, yoga, and rope dancing all in the same day?  Well, six performing arts teachers from Viva Circus, founded by Vivian Lee and Jerry Snell, have travelled from various places in the world to join Stairway Foundation summer Youth for Change Camps. They will be part of a total of 4 camps, reaching out to a total of 100 children from the streets, deaf children, indigenous children from Mindoro and Stairway scholars.

The camps will incorporate children’s rights, circus arts, acrobatics, rope dancing, yoga, ballet, and hip hop.  At the end of each camp, the children will create their own performance pieces. Equipping street  and at-risk children with knowledge and skills-particularly in the arts- can inspire and empower them to create and think up new ways in which they can get actively involved in social issues that concern them.

When there is not enough to eat, school can quickly become an afterthought.-- Unicef

February 2012

Last June, about 132 children enrolled  at the local school in Baclayan, a small mountain community consisting of Iraya Mangyans. However, the average attendance rate was anywhere between 20-30 students.  A needs analysis revealed that the main reason for the children's absence was hunger. 

With active participation from the parents, Stairway's Community Assistance Program now prepares and serves a nutritious meal for the students everyday. School attendance has more than tripled and the students are more alert and ready to learn. 

Stairway Kids create storybook wonders

Storybook written and illustrated by DionisioFebruary 2012

One of the best forms of assessing children’s learning is through creative writing.

Children get excited about school when classes are engaging and active.  In Stairway, we encourage the children to think creatively and endeavor to stimulate them and to spark their imaginations through a variety of creative activities.  One such activity was a two-week creative writing session led by SFI educator, Jasmin Punio. The outcome of the two-week session was a set of 12 beautifully illustrated storybooks all written by the children themselves.  To round off the session, the children brought their stories to life through the magic of puppetry.

Click to read storybooks

A better way to interview children about sexaul abuse

WCPD training on Forensic InterviewingFebruary 2012

The process of interviewing children--especially very young children in sexual abuse cases can be a trying experience for both the child and the interviewer.  How can we get the information we need to protect the child, without causing more emotional trauma?  In 1976 two American women, Virginia Freidmann and Marcia Morgan designed and developed the anatomical Natural Dolls.  Inspired by their trail blazing work, Stairway Foundation has begun production of its own version of anatomical dolls, called Safe Hands Dolls.  These dolls, which consist of a set of 8-12 dolls, will be used at the Women's and Childlren's Desks where Stairway has created child friendly spaces specifically for the purpose of interviewing child victims of abuse.

Contact us for more information on how you can order your set of Safe Hand Dolls.

BITAHR 2012 Film Forum: Fighting Trafficking Through Film

February 2012

Globally 1 million children are exploited by the commercial sex trade each year.  Film reaches the soul and ceates lasting empathy.  Stairway’s third animated film, Red Leaves Falling, was screeened last February 4, 2012 at the Boston Initiative to Advance Human Rights (BITAHR). The BITAHR Film Forum was established to address the need for greater public and academic awareness of the child sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. The forum "utilizes the power of film in effectuating a movement to combat CSE and modern-day slavery." This is the second time for Red Leaves Falling to be screened at the film forum.  A youth panel of survivors turned advocates (ages 18-24) that worked with the My Life, My Choice project in Boston, followed the screening.  The panel was moderated by the project's founder and director since 2002, Lisa Goldblatt Grace, who has worked with vulnerable young people for 20 years.  

A special thanks to Alexandra Lawrence, Tracy Paladijan, BITAHR members, and ADM Capital Foundation for helping to push the Break the Silence Campaign across boarders.

Click here to view discussion videos

CSAP reaches Deaf students at largest Deaf school in the Philippines

February 2012

Starting this February, Stairway’s Break the Silence partner, Support and Empower Deaf Children (SEADC), will begin regular Child Sexual Abuse and Prevention (CSAP) sessions at the Philippine School for the Deaf.  The largest Deaf school in the Philippines, this is a significant breakthrough to address the urgent need to bring CSAP to Deaf students. 

Spearheaded by Hailey Fox, Peace Corp volunteer for the Deaf, and SEADC, this is a great accomplishment for the Break the Silence Campaign.

 

A tremendous transformation

February 2012

Taller and stronger than children his own age, “The Mayor” (as street children dubbed him) survived on the streets by bullying and maltreating other children. 

Born in Mindinao in a Muslim ethnic group and taken to Manila at a young age, Smile (not his real name) learned very early what it felt like to be unloved and rejected.  To survive on the street, he learned to beg and scavenge.  He also smoked cigarettes and sniffed solvent.  He was hardhearted and used his height to bully and maltreat other children.  Many street children were afraid of him and dubbed him "The Mayor” because of the power he established in the streets.  A year and a half ago, "The Mayor” entered in Stairway’s residential program and a tremendous transformation took place.

Stairway presents in the CEOP ICPN safeguarding children training in Manila

October 2011

In 2007, Stairway attended a workshop in Thailand conducted by CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center), and since that time, Stairway has been in close contact with the agency. 

Last October 18-20, CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center), a UK based law enforcement agency, facilitated a training course entitled:  ICPN Safeguarding Children for NGO workers, teachers and other child care service provider.  Stairway was invited to the training to present its perspective on “offline and online child sexual abuse.” 

We would like to thank Tim Gerrish and the rest of the CEOP team, Jonathan Baggaley, Dr. Zoe Hilton and Eleanor Browne for inviting Stairway to the event.

A Showcase of Mangyan Basket-weaving

November 2011

On November 4th, 2011, the U.S. Peace Corps (USPC) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) celebrated their 50th anniversaries by hosting an event at the Mall of Asia with partners and stakeholders in the Philippines. The event celebrated 50 years of promoting peace and friendship in the Philippines, with a focus on inspiring the next generation of volunteers to continue their missions.

Stairway has been a partner with USPC for over 3 years now, training Peace Corps Volunteers (PCV’s), counterparts and staff members in Child Sexual Abuse Prevention, and hosting 4 Peace Corps volunteers, each having different roles at Stairway.

One of our current volunteers is working in the nearby indigenous Mangyan community of Baclayan. Because of our current community development work in Baclayan, Stairway was invited to send 3 Mangyan women from the community to showcase their basket-weaving skills at the 50th Anniversary Celebration.

The 3 women, Susan, Marcelina, and Sinicia were excited and nervous to embark on this new adventure. Two of them had never been outside of Puerto Galera. They didn’t really know what to expect of Manila, so they arrived with fresh eyes and open minds. There were many first experiences to be had, such as riding in an elevator, riding on an escalator, using a flush toilet, having a warm shower, seeing fireworks, and eating new foods. They remarked on how many cars, and buses, and trains, and people there were. And most of all, they expressed how much fun they were having.

Susan, Marcelina, and Sinicia worked hard at their booth. Throughout the day, they quietly worked on weaving their baskets. They seemed undaunted (and maybe a little proud) to have photos taken of them while weaving by media, by volunteers, and by booth visitors. At the end of the day when they were asked what their experience was like, they remarked how happy they were that people showed interest in their work. They gained a new appreciation for the quality and artistry in each of their pieces. They were ready for more adventure! 

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Last updated July 2014

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