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.

LOOK OUT LOUD Blog:  http://www.lookoutloudproject.com/index.html

LOOK OUT LOUD FACEBOOK:  https://www.facebook.com/LookOutLoud?fref=ts

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!

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.

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