2020 is just a day away, and Stairway Foundation is about to enter into its 30th anniversary. Much can be said about 30 years of developmental work and exploration in the field of upholding and promoting children’s rights, but we will keep this New Year greeting simple and just present to you a few photos from the very early days of Stairway. And, when we get into reminiscing on the beginning of this adventure, there is one person we must bring to the fore, who was absolutely instrumental in getting the project off the ground nearly 30 years ago.
Our dear friend, Christian Lund, was an architect student back in 1990, when Monica and I first settled here on Mindoro Island. The first 3 to 4 years being here were tough, since we were new to everything and we had very little money to work with. Thus, we needed to go to Taiwan and work as English teachers for several months every year to finance the initial constructions and initiatives, and every year Christian would come down to look after our place and build a few more beautifully designed bamboo cottages, while we were away.
In the middle of 1993, we had exhausted all sources of financial support from family, friends and bank loans, so we flew back to Denmark, where we moved into Christians apartment. It was here that we composed our first proposal to DANIDA, while working full time to repair some of our financial dents. It was also at this time that we founded Stairway Denmark, and Christian naturally became the founding chairman.
After too many years of absence, Christian decided to grace our Christmas and New Year celebration this year with his presence, and he arrived here on December 26, after a 3 day forced layover in Manila due to typhoon Ursula, which closed all sea traffic to and from Mindoro for exactly 3 days. Before presenting the gift he brought with him in the form of old photos, we will give the keyboard to Christian to share his impressions upon his way overdue return.
“I am amazed by the scope of development at so many levels. The Resource and Learning Center is incredible, and seen from my architect perspective, it is pretty much the way I dreamt it to be nearly 30 years ago. It is a lush tropical paradise, where people, animals, buildings and landscape exist in sublime harmony. The center generates nearly all its energy from solar panels, a large portion of the vegetables consumed are produced at the organic garden in the mountain, all waste is sorted in separate compartments, compost is produced to fertilize the garden, and all children and adults partake in the upkeep of the place.”
Here are a few images of Stairway nearly 30 years ago.