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Little Stars
UK Charity Commission Registration Number 1120536. Egyptian Charity: Luxor Charity No.8 (2010)
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Frequently Asked Questions

 
Updated January 2017
 
1. How do I apply for a Little Stars grant?
 
To apply for a grant for a disabled child in the UK you will need to contact us by phone or send us an email telling us your child's age and disability and what item you are asking for help in buying. We are only able to make small grants but we will do out best to be able to help. If you are in Luxor then please apply directly to the clinic near Qurna Hospital.
 
2. When and why did Little Stars start?

The idea for Little Stars began in February 2007 after the present Chairman had been severely injured in a road accident in Luxor.  While the Chairman was recovering from the accident she was told of a small child who had broken her arm but whose treatment was inadequate and was now suffering from gangrene. There was no funding available for the child to receive the treatment she needed and the child will either have lost her arm or her life. It was obvious that very poor families needed help not just in health matters but in a wide range of poverty associated problems. A Trust Fund was needed to help alleviate some of those problems. Little Stars Luxor Children’s Trust was formed on 29th May 2007 with 4 Trustees. 

3. Where did the original funding for Little Stars come from?

Raising money for a new charity know is a very difficult task.  The funds which started the Trust Fund came from personal donations totalling several thousand pounds from the Little Stars founders.  The donations covered the initial Trust Fund sum and the running costs of the charity until it was able to attract donations from supporters in its own right.

4. Is Little Stars a registered charity?

Little Stars is registered with the UK Charity Commission (1120536) and with the Egyptian authorities (Luxor Charity No.8) which means that there are two sets of checks on the work we do. Little Stars is also registered with Charity Check.

5. Does Little Stars repeat the work of any other children's charity in Luxor?

When Little Stars began, the main UK Charity operating in Luxor was Sunshine International but since then UK funding for Sunshine has been withdrawn. There was another smaller UK funded charity operating on the West Bank but this has recently closed. Little Stars is in the unique position of running a clinic, dentistry and nursery school for disadvantaged and disabled children. Due to a lack of funds, the Training Centre for Women and Girls, which aimed to teach skills that would enable women to care for their families, has been temporarily suspended as has the Family Sponsorship scheme.

6. Are the Trustees qualified to run a Children’s Charity?

Little Stars has four Trustees three of whom are ex-teachers. All have managerial experience. Two of the Trustees were founding members of the Trust.

7. Who makes the decisions on the development of Little Stars?

All decisions concerning Little Stars are made and approved jointly by the Trustees.  This is why Little Stars is able to have plans for the future which will outlive the Trusteeship of the majority of the serving members.   At present Little Stars is too small to diversify as it might wish as it would spread funds too thinly but this situation could change if the financial position improves. However, the Chairman has the casting vote on all things.

8 . Where does our funding come from?

Little Stars has several sources of funding but all of them are vulnerable to economic downturns. The main source of income comes from a small team of dedicated fund raisers who are organised by Tony Foster of Sweet Dreams. The next largest source of income is through regular donations made by our supporters. Occasional grants are very important to us and so are individual donations for general or specific items. All funding is from outside Egypt as we have never had financial assistance or any kind of assistance from the Egyptian Government.

9. Does Little Stars have high expenses?

Little Stars has no UK offices or staff and so expenses are kept to a minimum.

10. How is expenditure protected and controlled?

For security, Little Stars does not have a debit card or a credit card and does not have Internet Banking.  The option to have direct debits on the account has been disabled at the request of the Trustees.  This means that payments and withdrawals can only be made by cheques which are carefully recorded and tracked.  All cheques need two signatures before they are valid.  Some items such as domain and Website fees are paid over the Internet and, as the charity does not have the means to make such payments, they are paid for by the Chairman. 

11. How many people work for Little Stars in Egypt?

Last year there were 27 people working for Little Stars but since some of our services were suspended there are now only11 - comprising of an overall Administrator and a Centre Manager plus 3 Doctors and a nurse in the Clinic and 4 teachers in the Nursery School. There also a security guard. With unemployment being so high in Luxor, it means that 11 families have a small but regular income.

12. Does Little Stars own or rent premises?

Little Stars has no assets of its own. All premises that we use are rented. In the UK the registered office is provided free of charge and in Egypt Little Stars rents a large area of a new building close to Qurna Hospital on Luxor's West Bank. The garden of the premises is also rented by Little Stars to provide an outside play are for the children.

13. If I make a donation to Little Stars can I say where it should be spent?

Many of our donors say where they want their donation directed.  This was especially relevant to family sponsors who wanted their donation to repair a roof or buy a new bed or cooker.  Large donations have often been given for specific items. We guarantee that if a request is made for where a donation is spent then the request will be honoured. However, it must be noted that general donations are always considered to have been made by free will and are not refundable (Charity Commission rules).

14. Does Little Stars have a Child Protection Policy?

Little Stars is a British Registered charity and cannot ignore Child Protection Laws just because we are operating in a foreign country. Little Stars has a carefully constructed and comprehensive Child Protection Policy which was written by Charles Woods who had experience of Child Protection matters.  Some charities have been accused of innocently allowing the grooming of children by those who might intend them harm and all organisations have to be extremely careful where children’s welfare is concerned.  Our policy was devised to protect the children without casting doubt on the intentions of sponsors who only want to help. Basically, nobody (including staff) is ever allowed to have unsupervised access to a child in Little Stars care.  Unfortunately, this meant that some sponsors were not able to visit their family when they are in Luxor because there was nobody available to supervise the visit and they could not go alone.  Naturally this upset a small minority of supporters but the vast majority understood why the policy was in place and welcomed the care that Little Stars took/takes to protect vulnerable minors.  Access to families is only ever denied in the interest of a child’s safety.

15. How does the charity deal with negativity?

All charities suffer defamation and accusations of fraud usually aimed at officers of the charity and frequently totally unconnected to the activities of the charity. However, by far the majority of these accusations are baseless and vindictive, made by persons with little knowledge of the charity or by those who are misguided and would imagine that all labour is given freely, that all goods and food are bought without cost, that all transport is free and that premises are obtained without payment of rent - basically that here are no expenses at all ignoring the fact that people who work for a charity full-time have to earn a living. Little Stars has not escaped these accusations, made entirely by anonymous internet bullies who apparently have no regard for the beneficiaries of the charity. Our only defence is to ignore such accusations and not respond in any way to the people that make them.  They are like book critics who have never written a book, or food critics that have never learned to cook.