Stairway revisited-again

Tune Nyborg, a freelance journalist, working in development, longtime board member and former chairperson of Stairway Denmark, visited Stairway Foundation last February–again–for at least a dozen times!  His knowledge and expertise in developmental issues have helped to shape especially the advocacy and capacity building programs of Stairway.

I am so impressed by the commitment and professionalism of every staff member from Ate Jane in the kitchen to management. By the ever-growing range of new projects and initiatives. By the partnerships with NGO’s, government agencies and donors both in the Philippines and internationally. By meeting this year’s bath of young children on their way to a better future.

And not least by this special Stairway-spirit of love and laughter and trust in the potential of every human being, that is the foundation of everything Stairway does. Wow!

When I returned home in early March, I was saturated with impressions and memories of so many precious moments and encounters with the members of the Stairway family, that over time have become my friends. In I was so proud to be part of this unique and wonderful program. Again, I returned home inspired and ready do more for Stairway back in Denmark.

Stairway Denmark was formed in the early 90’s as a volunteer organization with the aim of supporting Stairway Foundation in the Philippines in every possible way. We are now around 500 members and are doing fundraising and lobbying as well as recruiting specialists to assist Stairway in many different ways.

One of the most important long-time donors is Danida, the Danish state development agency that has funded Stairway for almost 20 years. They need annual reports, based on monitoring from Stairway Denmark – and that’s is why I have had the privilege to come back again and again.

Over the years, Stairway has become one of the ‘star performers’ for Danida and the Civil Society Fund through witch we are receiving the grants. Thanks not least to Danida’s support, Stairway has gradually developed from a small start-up assisting street children to a strong and visible advocacy organization, whose voice is heard right into the central offices of the National Police, the Dept. of Social welfare and Development and the Dept. of Education.

In parallel, Stairways has trained and formed a nationwide network of other like-minded NGOs that now forms the basis for campaigns and initiatives for children’s rights and child sexual abuse prevention under the ‘Break the Silence’ banner.

In the international development-lingua, Staiway has moved from service providing to capacity building to advocacy. This makes Stairway a prime example of Danida’s development strategy.

And the thing is: It actually works! Stairway is putting a mark on the world. Together, we are making life a litter bit better and a little bit safer for vulnerable children, not only in the Philippines, but also in a growing number of countries all over the world.

Even in Denmark, we are right now adapting Stairway’s training programs on child protection and cyber safety to the Danish primary and secondary schools. The North is learning from the South. The partnership comes full circle. Isn’t it great?

Good luck in the years to come. And thank you, Stairway, for giving me the opportunity to be part of this wonderful adventure!

Contributed by Tune Nyborg