Distinctive eyes

Remark , age 17June 2013

It is a common practice for street children to take on an alias while surviving in the streets.  In Stairway, we have encountered several children, who gave us a false name upon intake, but it usually doesn't take long for them to feel secure enough to reveal their true identities.  This is the time that the social worker can start the process to obtain a birth certificate and in some cases find some of the child's relatives.  The work of locating long lost relatives cannot be done by one social worker alone.  It requires a concerted effort by various social welfare and development offices, along with a bit of luck.

In the case of Remark, alias Renan, no known address was on record, but going to the place where he was born, the community leader, noticed Remark's distinctive eyes, and knew where to locate a paternal aunt.  The paternal aunt led Remark to his father, whom he had not seen in nine years.  Remark also obtained the number of his eldest sister, from whom the social worker got the number of Remark's mother. 

Last week, Remark boarded a plane going to Mindanao, where he was reunited with his mother, whom he has not seen in 13 years!  Presently, he is continuing his education and is helping his mother to pack candies.

SFI and the Dep Ed partner for Child Protection Policy

SFI partner with Department of Education for Child Protection PolicyMay 2013

Schools should be the second home for our children.  However, as long as abuse is still happening in many educational institutions that ideal will not come to fruition.

With the intent to create a more child friendly learning environment, the Department of Education (Dep Ed) recently came up with an initiative to mandate schools all around the nation to develop and implement Child Protection Policies (CPP).  To promote the idea and to assist in the development of the CPP, DepEd has requested support from NGOs with experience in child protection.

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Stairway peer motivators compete in sailing regatta

2013 Philippine National GamesJune 2013

Last June 1 to 3, two of Stairway's peer motivators, Rey and Ismael, were competing in a major sailing event, the 2013 National Games.  More competitive than their usual sailing activities, this year's Regatta was done in Manila Bay with 20 youth sailors participating in the Mirror Dinghy Class B category.  The National Games, an annual competition for all sports in the country, also assess the expanse of athletic potentials to serve as the "final ranking and selection ground for the possible composition of the national pool."

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Stairway scholars learn about marine litter

SFI scholars learn about marine litterMay 2013

What are we?  Dugongs!  In two sessions, more than 100 Stairway scholars participated in a marine environment workshop and learned about the threat of marine litter to marine environments and the delicate species that live within them.  Stairway scholars now have a better understanding of the importance of the beach clean-ups they do every Saturday morning! 

Thank you Reef World and Green Fins!

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Up! Up! Staff Day

Up! Up! Staff DayMay 2013

Under the heat of the early morning sun, Stairway staff and children drove up to Baclayan and embarked on a wild and adventurous treasure hunt.  Teams consisting of staff members from both the Manila and Puerto Galera offices raced against one another to complete challenges designed and manned by the children!  After, the treasure hunt everyone piled up into the jeepney and headed over to Kool Lagoon for lunch and relaxation.  Well rested after a sumptuous meal, everybody took a tour on the glass bottom boat and went snorkeling at the breathtaking Coral Gardens.  Staff Day was rounded off with dinner back in Stairway, an early night, and fond memories of a great day!  Up!  Up! Staff Day

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Center - a look inside

Child stares through barred windows of the dormitoryJune 2013

A child stares into nothing.  His hair is matted, his face a pale sickly complexion and his teeth yellow.  His clothes are threadbare and unwashed.  His arms and legs are covered in sores and scabs from the scabies.  The child is deaf.  He cannot speak and cannot understand signs.  No one knows his name.  The center staff refers to him  as "Boy X" and the other kids address him with "Tanga," which means stupid in the local language.

Break the Silence makes inroads into new countries

Capacity building in ThailandApril 2013

Break the Silence, Stairway’s advocacy arm, continues to make inroads in the fight to stop child sexual abuse and sexual exploitation locally and internationally. On the local front, Break the Silence is training and capacitating partners from all areas around the Philippines.  Presently, there are more than 30 Break the Silence partners reaching out to schools, government partners and communities with their advocacy and training to end child sexual abuse and exploitation.

On the international front, news from partners in India announced that a special court for speedy trial of Child Sexual Abuse cases has been set up in Mumbai per the new law on  Protection of Children from Sexual Offecnes.  Last March 19-26, Stairway's executive director, Lars Jorgensen, and senior advocacy officer, Nancy Agaid, visited Nepal to formalize collaboration with Leger Foundation from Canada to start up a Break the Silence campaign in Nepal.  And more recently, SFI has collaborated with another major partner, Kindernothilfe, to conduct and assist in the development and delivery of a child protection policy capacity building program for the KNH regional trainer in Ethiopia. Because of this initiative, Stairway’s animation Daughter is projected to be shown to several NGOs based in Asia, Africa and Latin America through the KNH international network. One of Stairway’s advocacy and training officer, Ace Diloy, has also been tapped to serve both as a Philippine trainer, as well as an Asia Regional Trainer (to serve North India, Pakistan as well as in Ethiopia as a co-regional trainer capacity).

Consuelo Foundation partners with SFI for CSAP workshop

Members of Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention Network (CAPIN)-Pasay City attend SFI’s training on Child Sexual Abuse Prevention on April 8-11, 2013 In partnership with Consuelo Foundation, participants which include social workers, health workers, teachers, guidance counselors and law enforcers took part in the four-day training. April 2013

“We should all understand the dynamics of child sexual abuse, the grooming process, who are the offenders and why there are so-called willing victims. Each of you should know the basic tools in conducting basic CSAP training for both children and adults." - Ace Diloy, SFI Training and Advocacy Officer

Last April 8-11, participants from Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention Network (CAPIN)-Pasay City attended a four-day training hosted by SFI in partnership with Consuelo Foundation.  The training focused on a more child friendly approach to encouraging disclosures and how to avoid blaming the victim.  During the 4-day session, participants became familiar with slang terms that are used interchangably with a person's body parts as well as an in depth discussion about safe, confusing and unsafe touch.  The 4 day session was capped off with a performance of Cracked Mirrors, SFI's longest running stage play.

Stairway peer motivators lead Elsie Gaches creative workshops

Peer Motivator, Ismael, 16, show children how to make a puppetsApril 2013

Residents from Elsie Gaches Village, a government facility catering to mentally challenged youth, made their annual trip to Stairway (now going on 21 years).  The childlren enjoyed two weeks of beach, play and creative activities facilitated by the Stairway peer motivators.

MarJon -- former Stairway kid -- budding street rapper

Marjon, former Stairway kid and street rapperMarch 2013

Rap music is never far from our ears here in Stairway where the children are always beating out some rap tune by local Filipino rap band Gloc9 or by beating out some homegrown rap created by Kuya Johnny, one of Stairway's housefathers. So, it was no surprise when Marjon, a former resident of Stairway, showed up after 11 years, that he would also be rapping--but as a career!!!!

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Last updated July 2014

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