Brief History (page 2)

The project was conceptualized by Lars C. Jorgensen and Monica D. Ray during their first visit to the Philippines.


Due to great success, the “Cracked Mirrors” Tour and Campaign continued. We experienced serious set-backs in the production of the “Red Leaves Falling” animation film and ended up breaking with the studio that was contracted to produce the film. In the middle of the year the production got back on track, but with delay. We concluded the 3 year CSAP program under DANIDA, KNH, Leger and UNICEF with an outcome way over the expected and a wealth of experience to build on. After evaluation we entered a new partnership agreement with the same partners for a one year pilot focusing on the training and capacity building of 8 NGO partners. This was the beginning to the Break the Silence Campaign and Network. The SFI organizational development process continued with the establishment of 3 pillars under the program, each with its own head. We purchased 6 hectares of land in the mountains, Barangay Baclayan


“A Good Boy” and “Daughter” were translated into Cebuano and Thai. The Stairway workshops were developed further and divided into several modules, based on feed-back and experience from the trainers. SFI gave training to a network of child caregivers under the World Concern Network in Thailand, and “Cracked Mirrors” opened an International Conference for Child Protection Agencies in Bangkok, Thailand. Mr. Soren Sorensen and his wife, Vibeke, visited Stairway, which led to Soren accepting the position of chairperson on the board of Stairway Denmark. The SFI Family Home Program continued to operate with very satisfying results. Supported by UNICEF, “Cracked Mirrors” went on tour in the Philippines reaching thousands of students, teachers, social workers, church groups and law enforcers. With strong input and support from KNH and Stairway Denmark, SFI allocate more time and resources to organizational development. We finished the year opening a new building with a kitchen, office, and training room.


“A Good Boy” received international recognition with awards from the Seoul International Cartoon and Animation Film Festival and from a Human Rights Award in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Work started on the 3rd animation “Red Leaves Falling”, which would conclude the trilogy. We expanded our team with more people in the Advocacy and Training Program, as we further strengthened a 3 year Training Program supported by DANIDA, KNH, Leger and UNICEF. During that year more than a thousand professionals and around 25.000 children were reached in Calapan and Silang City as a result of SFI trainings. “Cracked Mirrors” opened the International Law Enforcement Conference on Technology Related Crimes against Children, sponsored by Microsoft.


We continued the Family Home program for particularly endangered street children, children with tuberculosis and children out of detention centers. At the same time we intensified our training of staff on child sexual abuse prevention within government rehabilitation centers. Our social workers and psychologist also served the children directly with workshops for prevention and aftercare counseling. In September we launched our 2nd animation; “A Good Boy, A Story of Pedophilia” at the Republic of Malate Theater in front of an audience of approximately 400 people. The advocacy theater piece “Cracked Mirrors”, performed by young people who used to be in Stairway’s program, was launched at the same event. “A Good Boy” was translated and dubbed into Tagalog and Khmer, “Daughter” into Nepali, and both animation toolkits were translated and dubbed into Spanish and French. All the work with the translations was done entirely on a volunteer basis with help from the International School Manila and the European International School. Facilities and technical assistance was generously donated by Dennis Cham and Hit Productions. We held our first international training at Stairway, and we sent 2 of our social workers to Cambodia to train our partners in Chab Dai. Chab Dai managed to utilize the animation toolkits broad and wide through their network of child care agencies and through government collaborations. Aside from continuing the collaboration with the International School in Manila, we expanded the Youth for Change Activity with the visit of 20 students from the American College Cairo, Egypt for a Week Without Walls. This program ran for 3 years until the American State Department declared the Philippines a high risk travel destination.


The animation Daughter, a Story of Incest proved its worth during its first year of existence. It was distributed and used widely in the Philippines, and it was translated into Khmer and Bahasa to be used in Cambodia and Indonesia as well. The film also brought attention to the problem of child sexual abuse in other parts of the world, as it won a first prize in the category “Best Educational Film” at the world’s largest animation film festival in Annecy, France. At the same festival it also received a special award from UNICEF. Stairway’s local campaign against child sexual abuse was further intensified with an expansion of the organization’s network and a long line of trainings and workshops for teachers, social workers, church members and other caregivers. With more activity on the prevention side, the need for more resources placed into the restoration of survivors of sexual abuse grew. Towards the end of the year, DANIDA promised to support Stairway’s work on child sexual abuse prevention for the next two years. In Stairway’s residential program, a total of 29 children and 7 youth were given assistance.


Based on more than a decade of experiences we decided to take an active part in the fight against child sexual abuse and commercial sexual exploitation of children here in the Philippines and globally. In 2003 we completed and released the 'Daughter, a Story of Incest' animation toolkit. At the same time we facilitated a series of 14 children's rights/child sexual abuse prevention workshops for a total of 225 children and youth. Some of the workshops were facilitated for children in detention and revealed an urgent need to address the problem of sexual abuse in penitentiary institutions for children. At the residential program we served a new group of 14 children. Eight of them were released from jail and six were street children with tuberculosis. All the children with TB underwent medical therapy: the Directly Observed Treatment Short Course, DOTS, recommended by the WHO. All children recovered.


Based on one of the stories from "Black Angels, Street Children Realities", we developed the storyboard to the animation "Daughter", which was to be a main tool in a campaign against child sexual abuse. The story was tested on a large group of children and further by our partners from the Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Sexual Abuse. The animator behind the creation of the characters in "Daughter" was Paw Ravn, who generously volunteered his time and talents at Stairway for 4 months. After seven years of financial support from DANIDA, we diversified our financial dependency and signed new partnership contracts with 2 new international funding agencies; Kindernothilfe from Germany and Leger Foundation from Canada. Further, the Embassy of Finland in Manila agreed to support the campaign against child sexual abuse.


The writing of 11 short stories compiled in "Black Angels, Street Children Realities" was completed, and the stories were tested in classrooms in Denmark, Canada and Egypt. The non-formal education classes at SFI were ongoing. More workshops and seminars were held on issues relevant for the survival and growth of street children. SFI was a founding member of a local network for the prevention of child sexual abuse.


Everybody experienced "a hard landing" after the "Goldtooth" tour. Almost the entire TASK group was passed on to jobs or further education. We constructed a new building with dormitory and school rooms. We opened SFI non-formal education school, and received recognition from the Department of Education. We had the first group of students from the International School come to Stairway for a week of exposure and education on street children and children's rights. 22 endangered street children were admitted into SFI for therapy and non-formal education.


With the musical "Goldtooth" as the main element, SFI launched an international advocacy campaign promoting children's rights. The TASK group, consisting of 17 former street children, performed for more than 20.000 people in 5 different countries. One of these performances was at the UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child. Through a very authentic performance, TASK clearly illustrated the worlds that still lie in between the words and promises of the convention and the reality of millions of children around the world.