We miss One Wish, a sentiment shared by a large number of people inside and outside of Stairway. After a 15 year long tradition, this is our second Christmas without the spell of this crazy little tale of a talented, ambitious, and rather selfish elf, who came to realize the value of his mission on the North Pole after exposure to the harsh realities of a group of kids on the streets of Manila.
It is indeed the small things in life that make a difference! I find a new and rather literal meaning to that saying, as we are seeing a second year under the dominance of a virus coming to an end. It has been another year of immense challenges and tragedies for too many people around the world, with the poor and most marginalized bearing the brunt of the impact. Nothing new there! As you read this, hundreds of thousands of people here in the Philippines are facing Christmas and New Year in evacuation centers, after their homes were washed away by typhoon Rai.
At Stairway, 2021 brought us ups and downs. In the spirit of Christmas, I want to focus on the ups here. And plenty of those too. In a year characterized by restrictions and limitations, we found new opportunities and affected change in the present that will carry into the future.
Just to mention a few highlights of the year, our Environmental Awareness for Children and Youth Program could report more new local initiatives and forming of new active groups among youth and adults than ever. Our Community Assistance Program stroke a fine balance between responding to immediate need from the community and moving towards a higher level of self-reliance and environmental sustainability. Our Advocacy and Capacity building program engaged in a new Global Program with our long-time partner Kindernothilfe from Germany, along with two new partners from Indonesia and Nepal. This is another program built around our e-learning platform, with the potential to give our child protection advocacy a major push in Indonesia and Nepal. The Global Program starts up, as we are still working on another project with Kindernothilfe, in which we are testing the e-learning in Sri Lanka and Kenya. A project that has resulted in plenty of positive feedback. Coming to the end of another year, where we have been prevented from hosting any workshops, trainings, or youth camps inside our Learning and Resource Center, the e-learning has been our only intact source of self-generated income.
As we fare through times of deprivation and challenges, acts of unity and solidarity from friends and supporters keep on pouring in. Although we cannot host Youth for Change Camps, the spirit of young people helping their less fortunate peers has not been conquered. Students from Roedkilde Gymnasium and Skanderborg Gymnasium in Denmark have attested to that in action and solid numbers earlier this year. They demonstrated acts of solidarity and global collaboration; our path out of the multiple crises we and our planet are facing.
Thank you for your continued friendship and collaboration. Together we make a difference.
We wish you all a lovely Christmas and a safe and wonderful 2022.
Love and Respect!
The Stairway Family