The Whale and the Jonahs: Impressions, thoughts and dreams from a short stay at Stairway

altFebruary 2013

Kirsten Seidenfaden and Piet Draiby, a psychologist and a child psychiatrist respectively, authors of two unique books about relationships:  The Vibrant Family and The Vibrant Relationship,  as well as being holiday-tight-rope walkers, landed in Stairway last January.  During their 10-day adventure, they delighted and inspired Stairway staff and children with their stories, skills and antics.  Read below about their colorful impressions, thoughts and dreams from their short stay at Stairway.  You will have a whale of a time!

One year later, Baclayan Feeding Program increases school attendance

altFebraury 2015

The Feeding Program for the Baclayan Mangyan School for the 2012-2013 school year started serving meals last June 6, 2012. For the first month of the Feeding Program, it has recorded a total of 197 children served.   On a day-to-day basis we are serving meals to 170-180 students. This is more than a 100% increase from the previous school year and way above any of our expectations.  While it is a super positive development, it is undeniable that it also poses a challenge in financially sustaining the program.  The tremendous increase in the number of students who has registered for school is partly an effect of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the Philippine government through the Department of Social Welfare and Development. It is a poverty alleviation program reaching out to around 3 million households nationwide. One of the conditions to become a beneficiary of the program is that parents should ensure that their children are enrolled in school.   While the DSWD program might be the strongest motivation for parents to enroll their children in school, the fact that the children will be able to eat a nutritious lunch helps to secure that they stay in school and enhances their ability to learn.

Harvard students visit SFI

Mandala created by Harvard students and SFI kidsFebruary 2015

When young people take it upon themselves to get actively involved with the world around them change will eventually happen within and without.

Michi Ferreol is a former ISM student and has participated in several of the Youth for Change Camps held in Stairway each year since her middle school days at ISM.  Now a junior at Harvard University, Michi had a vision to one day bring some of her fellow classmates to the Philippines and expose them to the issues that affect her country, namely poverty and homelessness.  She got the chance during the Harvard J-Term, a month-long period in January, where students would have the opportunity to delve into creative and exciting programs on campus or elsewhere.  Out of a pool of over 70 applicants for their first ever Harvard Philippine Forum J_TERM Trip to the Philippines, 12 students were chosen for the team.  Stairway was one of the destinations that Michi organized for the students to visit. 

Clcik here to read more about the Harvard J-Term in the Philippines.

Safer Internet Day

altFebruary 2015

In a study about online behaviors of children in the Philippines conducted by Stairway Foundation in 2012, 49% of those in the 10-12 years old age range have seen online pornography, while 72% in the 13-17 years old age range have seen online pornography either in the form of pictures, videos or animation.

Last February 5th, SFI in conjunction with Angelnet, the online child protection law enforcement arm of the Philippine National Police and the Break the Silence network, a network of NGOs in the Philippines working on child protection joined in on the worldwide observance of Safer Internet Day (SID).  SID Philippines 2013 focused on the launching of a Philippine research with regards to online safety.  Online rights is the right of children to maximize their own potentials through the use of the internet and technology. 

Online responsibilities are the collective responsibilities of all of us in ensuring that we all maintain a safe online envrionment for children.

Online risks Filipino children face today

Online risks Filipino children face todayFebruary 2013

Sexual abuse and exploitation of children has always been a problem. However, along with the rise of technology and advancements in communication new forms of sexual abuse and exploitation have evolved, and ease of accessibility has increased the risks and dangers to children. Children need to be protected from harm of sexual abuse and exploitation, which requires information and education on risks, along with raised awareness on protective behavior, in our physical world as well as online.

As a child protection organization, Stairway has been working on the issue of child sexual abuse for more than 15 years. Having developed creative and effective tools and methodologies for child sexual abuse prevention education, the organization has strived to make the issue an agenda of multiple stakeholders. However, it was only after participating in a regional conference facilitated by the Center for Exploitation and Online Prevention (CEOP) back in 2007 that our organization recognized there was a whole new and extremely fast growing trend in the use of the internet and technology in perpetration of child sexual abuse.

The scope and the gravity of this technology related threat to children’s safety came to us as a revelation, and we responded by immediately launching the creation of a localized online safety program to complement our existing child sexual abuse prevention program.

The study we present to you here is based on  years of work on the issue of online child sexual abuse.  Even though it does not present itself as a very formal research, we hope that it will make a useful contribution to the limited amount of data and literature to be found on this subject in the Philippines. Most significantly, we hope it will help create a renewed sense of urgency for any relevant stakeholder to prioritize enhanced prevention efforts to protect children against technology related crimes.

We would like to thank our partners in the Break the Silence network for making this research possible through administering the survey with children respondents from different parts of the Philippines.  Your participation and continued partnership is much appreciated.

Further reading:

Online Risks Filipino Children Face Today

One Wish brings joy to many

One Wish, a Christmas TaleJanuary 2013

The love and joy that Christmas brings were certainly felt around Stairway during the Christmas week, especially for the 14 Stairway boys who celebrated the holidays engaged in performing One Wish, Stairway's annual Christmas show.  Not your ordinary Christmas play by far, One Wish  is a farcical Christmas tale about an elf called 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 from a bunch of streetkids who are locked away in a detention center on Christmas Eve. 

Beautifully performed, the Stairway boys gave 8 performances for the local and indigenous communities as well as for tourists and their families.

Thank you Stairway Family, friends and supporters for helping to make Christmas 2012 a very special and memorable holiday!

Click here to view images from One Wish.

Click here to view cast portraits from One Wish.

The Stairway Project

altDecember 2012

Seven kids. Three weeks. One goal: to tell the story of Stairway Foundation.

A team comprised solely of high school students, led by Max Heald and Zach Jorgensen, filmed the entire movie during three weeks in August 2012 on an entirely student-run shoot. Heald and Jorgensen were awarded Phillips Exeter Academy's first-ever Summer Fellowship Award for their work. In addition, Heald is currently screening the film and giving talks at high schools and colleges around New England. He advocates youth activism and hopes to demonstrate that passion, not age, is the real limit on the impact one can have.

Click to view

Clay ovens

November 2012

Since I am ending my happy volunteer career in Stairway, I will share my experiences working with the clay stove project.
The point of spreading the idea of clay stoves made in Baclayan is partly for comfort of the people there and partly protection of the environment. The clay stoves are designed to protect the cooking fire from the wind which makes it easier to maintain the fire. The stove will burn by a higher temperature because the heat is contained in an isolated room. This means a cleaner fire with less air pollution. The clay stove will because of its mass contain the heat and the amber for longer time. This will lower the amount of firewood needed for cooking. Since the people in Baclayan spend much energy finding and drying firewood, especially in the wet season, this is meant to ease the life on the mountain.
 

National Children's Month: a celebration of Filipino children

Jason, 10, playing at the beach.November 2012

National Children's Month is celebrated every October here in the Philippines.  Mandated by Presidential Proclamation 267, it is a time to recognize the value of Filipino Children as the most valuable assets in the society.  Observed by Government and Non-Government agaencies around the Philippines,  the month-long celebration is also a campaign to end violence against children and to promote their physical, emotional, moral, spiritual and intellectual well-being. 

Stairway celebrated the month-long event with a series of Children's Rights and Child Sexual Abuse Prevention workshops for Stairway scholars and their parents.  A team went up to Manila to create Child Friendly Spaces in ten police precincts around Metro Manila.  In Stairway, the children enjoyed many different activites through out the month of October from learning about foreign countries to making clay ovens. 

At the end of the month, we celebrated with an impressive display of music, poetry, dance, theatre, drawings and sculpture.  The children were given awards of encouragement followed by games and lasagna!

“Mankind owes to the child the best it has to give.” -Anonymous

Click to view images

Opening of new children's quarters kick-start Children's Month celebration

November 2012

With children, staff, volunteers, and friends in attendance, Stairway kick-started National Children's Month, last September, with a ribbon cutting ceremony of the new children's quarters.  The new structure extends from the hillside overlooking the mountains. With terraces on each level, the four-story building is complete with a classroom, computer room, a library and the children's sleeping quarters. 

The old children's quarters, will be converted into a workhsop space for livelihood projects such as sewing and jewelry making.

Click to view photos

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Last updated July 2014

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