Brief History (page 2)

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


The “Break the Silence International Campaign against Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation” took off after the completion of our latest film “Red Leaves Falling”, and we entered into a focused partnership with Hong Kong based ADM Capital Foundation to further develop and execute the campaign. We trained and worked alongside networks of partners in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma and Malaysia. “Red Leaves Falling” was dubbed into Khmer, Thai, Vietnamese, Burmese and Malay Bahasa. All of our three animations were made accessible to the deaf community by providing sign language insets, both in the American and Filipino Sign Language. Our advocacy theatre play “Cracked Mirrors” continued to move and shake hearts and souls throughout the year. Students from Singapore American School arranged for the Stairway theatre troupe to visit Singapore for a line of performances and sessions of direct interaction with students and faculty at the school. The convincing power of the theatre was also proven earlier in the year, when we had the head of the Police National Training Institute visit Stairway. Upon viewing “Red Leaves Falling” and “Cracked Mirrors”, General Sarmiento declared his full support to our training and advocacy program for the police. Consequently, we entered into all of the 17 police training institutes around the nation, and we received another official recognition from the National Police. We developed and submitted a proposal for a 5-year project with the aim to establish and capacitate a large number of Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Resource Centers in different parts of the Philippines. The proposal was approved by our partners from DANIDA in November. Stairway was nominated for the Philippine Inter-Agency Council against Child Pornography, and was invited by several groups as a resource on online safety. We also ran a series of workshops on how to understand and use the newly ratified anti-child pornography law. “Red Leaves Falling” was screened at and received raving reviews at the Human Rights and Sex Trafficking Film Forum by the Boston Initiative to Advance Human Rights at the Brattle Theatre & Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, MA. We started a project with the Philippine Police Department for Women and Children to improve on their existing set up in a number of police stations in Metro Manila, where we created more child friendly spaces. With the visit of 20 students from the Singapore American School (SAS), we added a new partner for our Youth for Change Program. The Singapore School left a large donation to help in construction of a new children’s dormitory. We purchased a small lot (174sqm) along the river in Aninuan to secure our deep well and supply of water to Stairway and a number of local families in the community. We made a needs analysis on the children in the Mangyan School in Baclayan, which is neighbor to our 11 hectares of land in the mountains. We took a strong interest in the children, the school and the community, as we realized that the attendance rate in the school was way below 50%, and the students ranked far below the national average in their academic performance. Conclusion to the analysis was that children did not go to school because they were hungry. We used the research data to develop a school and community program, which would initially address the children’s nutrition and health condition, as many were malnourished. The long-term objective was to significantly improve the quality of the children’s education. Last but not the least; we planted several hundred trees on our land in Baclayan. The next step will be to establish an organic vegetable garden that will help provide food for the feeding program in the school and for the Stairway Learning and Resource Center, while at the same time function as a model garden in the community. We signed an agreement with the owners of the land in Aninuan to purchase the land with installments of payment spanning over three years.


The year was filled with many significant events and developments in terms of programs, activities and networking, along with a continuous process of consolidating our organization. We completed our third animation toolkit “Red Leaves Falling” and launched it in collaboration with UNICEF as part of a grand anti-child pornography campaign.
  • We developed a new website, which over a time period of 6 months had more than 26,000 visitors
  • We toured in Europe with a campaign against child pornography, featuring Red Leaves Falling as well as the theater piece Cracked Mirrors
  • We started a new collaboration with the US Peace Corps, having their volunteers work with us
  • We completed our new theater/ multi-function building, and the stage was opened in style with no less than 4 different, and all very great, performances over the year
  • We received an award from the Philippine National Police for our service in training their personnel, and we further expanded this collaboration to include a large number of training schools for cadets around the country
  • We concluded a one-year pilot project in which we aimed to empower eight partner NGOs to become resource centers for the prevention of child sexual abuse. Our goal was to bring this project to new heights with a lot more partners over the coming years
  • We purchased an additional 4.5 hectares of land adjacent to the 6.4 hectares in Baclayan
  • We finished and opened the Yellow House, a dormitory for children and professionals doing camps, workshops and trainings at our Learning and Resource Center.


Due to great success, the “Cracked Mirrors” Tour and Campaign continued. We experienced serious setbacks in the production of the “Red Leaves Falling” animation film and ended up breaking with the studio we had 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 donors for a one-year pilot focusing on the training and capacity building of eight partner NGOs. This was the beginning of the Break the Silence Network, which eventually became the Break the Silence National Network. The SFI organizational development process continued with the establishment of three pillars under the program, each with its own head. We purchased 6.4 hectares of land in the mountains, Barangay Baclayan, with the intent to develop a small organic farm.


“A Good Boy” and “Daughter” were translated into Cebuano and Thai. The Stairway workshops were developed further and divided into several modules based on feedback and experience from the trainers. SFI gave training to a network of child caregivers under the World Concern Network in Bangkok, and “Cracked Mirrors” opened an International Conference for Child Protection Agencies in 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, as Katrine Nyholm wanted to step down. 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 allocated more time and resources to organizational development to become a well-established and recognized Learning and Resource Center for Children’ Rights. We finished the year opening a new building with a large kitchen, office and function room/training space.


“A Good Boy” received international recognition with awards from the Seoul International Cartoon and Animation Festival, and from a Human Rights Award in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Work started on the third 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. Throughout the 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 an International Law Enforcement Conference on Technology Related Crimes against Children in Bangkok. The conference was followed by a 2-week training on online safety for children facilitated by the British Police Agency, CEOP and sponsored by Microsoft. Two SFI people attended the training and this became the beginning of a long collaboration between SFI and CEOP on online safety.


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 psychologists 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 invited guests from government and non-government organizations. The advocacy theater piece, “Cracked Mirrors”, performed by young people who used to be in Stairway’s program, was officially launched at the same event, which was covered by TV News in the Philippines and Singapore. “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 two 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 Manila, we expanded the Youth for Change Activity with the visit of 20 students from the American College of Cairo, Egypt. 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 the 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 one of the the world’s largest animation film festivals 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.


With over a decade of experience, we decided to take an active part against child sexual abuse and commercial sexual exploitation of children 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 minors. 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, A Story of Incest”, 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 sources of funding and signed contracts with two international 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. In Denmark, Katrine Nyholm became chairperson after Nich Poulsgaard.