The challenges of the cultural gap-a letter from a volunteer

June 2012

In November I left my home to save the world. It became the beginning of a very special friendship with a group of people, who are very different from myself in many ways. My project at Stairway, mostly concentrated around on the Stairway farm on Baclayan, a mountain about 10 km from Stairway Foundation. Here the locals as well as the workers belong to the Mangyan tribe. I naturally have a lot of experiences from up the mountain, but these are not to be described in the following. However, what I want to share now is my understanding of the social relations and interactions across the cultural gap, which forms a great deal of challenges that we are to face when working as an organisation.

Football facilitates friendships and fun

June 2012

“Beep! Beep! Beep!” The alarm squeals in my ear. I roll over and see it is 4:30 AM. On any other day, I would just ignore the sound and instantly fall back into the night’s imaginings, but today is different. I am full of energy and anticipation, because it is the first day that the Baclayan children will take part in the practices of the local soccer program named Puerto Galera Football Club. It is time to begin my pre-dawn trek up to Baclayan. I flag down a tricycle and am soon engrossed in meditations of the days’ events to the backdrop of the motor’s hum. Upon arriving at Santo Nino trailhead, I embark upon the hour trek towards the center of Baclayan. I began my ascent as the first golden beams illuminate the path that lies ahead.

A very special guest

June 2012

For the past 13 years now, Stairway Foundation has annually received a very generous grant from the Axel and Paula Nissen’s Fund in Denmark.  The key person behind this consistent and invaluable support is Bente Stephensen.  She was first introduced to Stairway during our theatre tour around Denmark with the “Goldtooth Street Children Musical” back in 1999.  It was only last month that we finally had the pleasure to have Bente witness first hand some of the developments in terms of programs, activities and infrastructure that she and the AP Nissen Fund have so much credit in.

 

Thank you, Bente Stephensen!

Resiliency: Tapping into our inner strengths

June 2012

Her father left her family.  Her baby sister was born prematurely and died.  She lived in a makeshift house under a tree in the worst possible place for a child at that time—Ermita, the red-light district of Manila.  Her mother eked out a living selling fruits that barely helped to feed her and her brother, and she was sexually abused by a foreign pedophile.  Yet, despite the challenges in her childhood, this beautiful person looked to her inner strengths, rose from the ashes and transformed her life for the better.  Before a client under Stairway Foundation, now Susan works in SFI as computer  teacher/administrator, child rights advocate and a performer in Stairway's long running theatre piece, Cracked Mirrors, Stories of Child Sexual Abuse. 

Recently, Susan was asked to return to her former NGO, Kaibigan, to give a motivational talk to a group of student scholars.

Thank you for your support!

Dear Friends,

It is only appropriate that it has become a tradition for everybody at Stairway to end our year under the magic spell of theatre and play.  Spiced with loads of humor and a stint of satire, the Stairway boys had the privilege and the pleasure of spreading the true spirit of Christmas, as the 2011 rendition of “One Wish” pulled in large audiences from near and far.

2011 has passed with new concepts and ideas transformed into programs and activities.  It was another year shaped by innovation and creativity,  a year where we launched our nationwide Break the Silence Campaign, where we opened an office in Manila, where we reached and trained every single police cadet in all of the country’s 17 regional Police Training Institutes, where our animations and trainers entered into yet another Southeast Asian country, Burma, and it was the year that our Youth for Change camps expanded to include schools from 3 continents and 6 nations.  

We would like to take the time to express our gratitude and appreciation, and to let you all know that we could have done little without your support.

From Children, Staff and the Board of Stairway, we wish you all a Very Happy New Year!

Click here to view images from One Wish

SFI Scholars Graduate

March 2012

Congratulations to SFI Graduating Scholars of 2011-2012

This year’s graduating scholars consisted of 22 high school students and 9 college students.  Most of these students, SFI has supported since grade school.  Of the high school graduates, one student, Jenny Rose, graduated 5th in her graduating class.  Two other SFI scholars, Rochelle Bercasio and Monet Santoyas received scholarships to De La Salle University partly sponsored by ECPAT Philippines.

16 child friendly spaces and a counseling room

April 2012

Hauling a jeepney full of toys, books, art materials, fabric, furniture, paints and other assorted supplies around Metro Manila was quite a task for Birgit Lind, who is a board member of Stairway Denmark, and volunteer in Stairway Foundation.  Assisted by SFI employees, Jhao Guttierrez and Jorimar Agbing, the three person team managed to complete in seven days, child friendly spaces in 16  police stations around Metro Manila, as well as SFI's new counseling room located in the Manila office. 

Since 2007, Stairway began to forge a strong relationship with the National Women and Children's Police Desk office with agreements on capacity building as well as the development of child friendly spaces with the WCPD stations. 

 

Panimula-new beginnings

April 2012

Another batch of children has graduated from Stairway’s Residential Program.  We celebrated this momentous occasion with poetry, song and words of wisdom.  Over the past months, we have witnessed amazing transformations in the children that went beyond all expectations.  All have become well balanced children with very positive and healthy outlooks on life, and all are prepared for a new beginning outside of Stairway. 

Still smiling after all of these years

April 2012

Children who live with physical, sensory, intellectual or mental health disability are among the most stigmatized and marginalized of all of the world’s children.  For three lucky young men, though, this is not their reality thanks to centers like Elsie Gaches Village, an organization which provides care and rehabilitation to children and young people with special needs.  Jack, Totoy and Henry are residents from Elsie Gaches Village and what is particularly special about them is that they have been coming to Stairway Foundation every year for the past 20 years!

Building confidence through sailing

April 2012

After early Sunday morning football practice, the Stairway children spend the remainder of the day sailing at the Puerto Galera Yacht Club's Youth Dinghy Program.    About 30 children in all show up eager to learn this fascinating and challenging water sport. Donned in bright yellow life vests and lots of sunblock, they rig-up their Optimist and Lawin dinghies and set out sailing.

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Last updated July 2014

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