2015 means 25 years of Stairway! Our 25th anniversary is a milestone in what has been an amazingly colorful journey that has taught us much about the beauty and the needs of some of the most marginalized and endangered children in our world. A journey which at times has exposed us to some of the darkest sides of human doings, and which the next moment has restored a sense of balance by gratifying us with friendship and support from some of the most beautiful people we could possibly imagine.
The Christmas holidays can be a difficult time for some of the boys in Stairway, but with all of the merriment and the hustle and bustle around the center most of them forget about their woes and focus their energies in preparing for Stairway’s traditional Christmas play, One Wish.
One Wish, is a farcical Christmas tale about an Elf named Elfie who is kicked out of the North Pole by Santa and the other elves for being too selfish. Elfie learns the true meaning of Christmas by a bunch of street kids locked away in a detention center on Christmas Eve.
On Christmas Day, Stairway boys were in for a big surprise when they opened three giant boxes filled with African djembe drums and other percussive instruments.
Enough drums and percussive instruments for everyone to participate and to play, Anders, a Danish musician and teacher, led the children in a mesmerizing drum circle. Following the drumming session, Jireh, a rising local jazz musician, presented her gift of an electric keyboard. Jireh created heavenly music on the keyboard while she sang one of her original songs from her latest CD.
The African djembe drums were generously donated by Drums for School, a London-based group of music specialist who are motivated and passionate about making music-making accessible to everyone.
Jireh plans to attend Berklee School of Music later this year.
Thank you, Drums for Schools and Jireh for your inspiring and transforming gifts.
After less than half a year of child-to-child organizing in the local community and schools, the EACY Club (Environmental Awareness for Children and Youth Club) culminated the year end with the first ever combined General Assembly and Christmas gathering held last December 20 at the Stairway Theater.
Attended by 167 members from all over Puerto Galera -- from primary school scholars to some College members as well -- this event marks a momentous milestone towards the new project’s vision to foster “a community where children and youth unite to become active stewards and vanguards of the threatened environment.”
When Stairway first started out with our child protection advocacy, which was then called CSAP (child sexual abuse prevention), we were in a situation wherein we wanted to cover different parts of the Philippines with the advocacy, and reach out to as many stakeholders and children as possible.
Being a small team of advocacy and training officers, Stairway had much ground to cover, which was compounded by the situation that during that time, there were too few organizations working on the issue of child sexual abuse and its prevention. To avoid creating excessive strain on a single organization because of the scope and magnitude of the problem, we had to think of a strategy which would enable the expansion to as many areas and regions as possible. Thus, in 2008, the Break the Silence campaign (BtS) was conceptualized and launched.
Over the holidays, we had the pleasure of reconnecting with Ralph Rodschat and Pascal Annoual, longtime friends, who have followed Stairway's development for nearly 20 years!
It has been almost 20 years since we first met the wonderful people at Stairway and almost that long since most of the family had been back to the Philippines, so were thrilled to finally make it back this Christmas season. It was a wonderful return to a beautiful place and the welcome received from Monica, Lars and the whole team made us feel those years melt away.
Artist Trading Cards or ATCs is the latest new concept introduced to Stairway children by Pascal Annoual, an art therapist from Canada and her daughter, JuliAna, 18.
Simple to make and highly addictive, these small original works of art can be swapped like baseball cards and are never for sale. Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) have just one simple rule: they must measure 2-1/2 x 3-1/2 inches, and be flat enough to slide into a standard trading card sleeve. Media, materials, and techniques are totally up to the individual artist, so cards can be rubber stamped, painted, collaged, screen-printed, or created by any method imaginable.
In early April, 17 boys had their first open water dive experience, courtesy of Alice and Bjoern from AB Wonderdive , in Small Lalaguna, Puerto Galera. Our partners from ReefWorld foundation organized the event and provided dive instructors and dive masters to secure a fun and safe experience for everyone.
Try Dive day was an exceptional day. This was the first under water sea adventure the children and staff from SFI ever encountered. And imagine their experience! It was like none other they had ever had before. Before the dive, the children and staff were separated into small groups. Next they were briefed by professional instructors about the equipment and learned some of the safety hand signals. Afterwards, they buddied up with a dive instructor. View images