Stairway children and staff enjoy 3-day music and arts festival

Malasimbo Music and Arts FestivalMarch 2013

No sooner than the Youth for Change camps were over did Stairway children, staff and volunteers headed for the foothills of Mount Malasimbo for three fun filled days of music, art and culture at the 3rd annual Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival. Renowned as the first international music and arts festival of its caliber in the Asia-Pacific, this year, the legendary Jimmy Cliff and the soulful Joss Stone headlined the festival.  It was a tremendous experience!

Thank you to the D’Aboville Family for inviting the Stairway kids and staff to attend.

Look Out Loud photovoice exhibit gives voice to those without a voice

Image taken by Marivic B, age 15March 2013

In late March, Mangyan students from Baclayan, Stairway scholars from San Antonio Island, and the Stairway kids presented an impressive photo-voice exhibit about their lives and their communities. The exhibit called Look Out Loud is the brain child of Meghan Harris, a former Stairway volunteer, and Maggie Cissel. The objective of the Look Out Loud project is to give voice to those who have no voice through photography and storytelling. Maggie and Meghan have travelled with the Look Out Loud project to India, the Philippines and presently Guatemala.

Over the past 2 months during their stay in Stairway, they have worked with 30 participants and collected more than 5,000 photographs!  Please check out their blog and Facebook page.



Rhythmic cups game inspires a thoughtful poem by Youth for Change participant

Children play the cups gameFebruary 2013

Today was mainly focused on Children's Rights. From the activity the day before, it was clear that our SAS group knew nothing about these rights. We watched videos, beginning with a young speaker who went to the UN Conference to speak out against the way that the governments and corporations of the world seemed to have no regard for their environment in their quest for expansion. We listened to one of the Stairway kids, Daniel give us a testimony of his life story. We watched Stairway's very own animations that gave us a sense of the kinds of ways that people exploit children. The combination of learning of the dilemmas that the street kids face and the Children's Rights was emotionally heavy. In the night, we watched the play that Stairway uses to educate the people who come, and then we played the cups game as a large group. It was a relieving end to a tiring day. Today was the day that we really started to bond with the kids. We would spend all our free time playing games and having fun together. 

This poem is about one moment when we were all sitting on a stage playing the cups game together.

Youth for Change 2013-transforming humanity

Youth for Change 2013February 2013

Not only were the Lego blocks a huge success with the Stairway kids, they were also a wonderful way to engage students in discussion about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Throughout the months of February and March, we welcomed students from international schools in Manila, Singapore, Korea and Cairo. Students from Korea had the added benefit of spending a few days up at the Stairway farm in Baclayan before they came to the Stairway campus.  During their stay in Baclayan, the students interacted with Mangyan students, learned about Mangyan culture, planted trees and learned to make Coco Jam.

Click to view images

Lego blocks spark Stairway kids' imaginations

Lego donationFebruary 2013

LEGO which is a shorten version of leg godt (play well in Danish) was a tremendous hit with Stairway kids. Last February, six large boxes of colorful Lego bricks arrived in Stairway igniting the children’s imaginations and ushering in endless hours of creative fun. These timeless plastic toys were donated by LEGO.

Daughter Flash



Cocojam: A taste of childhood

altFebruary 2013

Finding sustainable ways to maintain an organic farm is always a challenge.

The Stairway farm up in Baclayan provides fresh vegetables for the feeding program at the Mangyan School.  However to keep the farm running, we are looking into alternative ways to develop products that can compete in our local markets.  One of the greatest successes has been the production of COCO JAM!  Seemingly, no one can resist the taste.  Labour intensive, but well worth the effort, the farm can produce about 40 jars a month.  But these jars have no time to reach outside of Stairway because they are consumed before they can be sold!  Everyone in Stairway can attest to this.  “It tastes of my childhood!” says one guilty person who had just spread a spoonful of cocojam on a slice of bread.  One wonders why there isn’t more cocojam available in the market, since there is coconut available all year round.

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!

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