A Different Home Coming

After three years of lockdowns and the easing of travel restrictions, it has now been possible to hope for a return to “normal.”

Then again, “normal” must be seen in a specific context, one in which the COVID virus is still a part of the landscape and where other equally serious civilization-threatening challenges, such as climate change and wars, are also happening at the same time.

Under these circumstances, the Board of Stairway Foundation Inc. (SFI) met on March   25, 2023.

The official meeting location was in Brgy. Aninuan, Puerto Galera, Philippines. Two (2) board members participated remotely, making it a hybrid meeting, which has also become a part of the new “normal.”

Also present were representatives from Stairway Denmark, SFI’s counterpart/ partner organization.

Members of the SFI management team also participated.

During the previous day, the management committee met with the active participation of members of the SFI board and Stairway Denmark.

“Home is where the heart is,” as they say, and, for us who have been associated with SFI through the years, we consider it as “home.”

Stairway is not just a physical place that I have personally seen grow over the decades; It is also a place of ideas, hopes, and dreams.

These hopes and dreams are shared by all: children, staff, volunteers, management, partners, and friends.

We hope and dream of a world in peace where ALL children are safe, protected, and given the chance to grow and develop their full potential as human beings regardless of their background.

This common vision is at present under severe threat by climate change, wars, and conflicts, and technological developments that increase the risks and harm to children all over the world.

Children of today face a harsher, more dangerous world.

We at SFI must be prepared to take on and address these challenges.

On the one hand, we see increasing conflicts and, with it; instability. On the other hand, we see extraordinary acts of solidarity undertaken to mitigate the effects of conflict.

In more peaceful but nonetheless challenging environments, strengthening community& solidarity counters the negative, divisive, destabilizing effects of disinformation, climate change, etc.

SFI must play a role in this context.

We should be aware of the global and national situation.

We should anticipate the changes and challenges engendered by global and national trends such as wars, climate change, technology, etc.

SFI should continue to innovate and be on the cutting edge of child welfare and rights advocacy in the face of global crises, crises that undoubtedly impact children all over the world.

These overarching themes were all part of our meetings, discussions, planning, updating, and catching up.

It made for an atmosphere of friends reconnecting, renewing ties, and catching up, but also of warriors coming back from a storm and gearing up for the coming challenges.

And so it was, in the three days of March 24 – March 26, from traveling together, eating together, inspecting programs, informal talks, as well as formal meetings, face-to-face, and hybrid; All the various activities that can be taken together as a “different homecoming.”

Indeed, it was a homecoming of a different sort, one in which there was little time for nostalgia and instead was devoted to a new sense of urgency and a renewed commitment to the SFI mission.