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Little Stars - Luxor Children's Trust

UK Charity Commission Registration Number 1120536

Newsletter 29/30 - October/November 2009

Archived Newsletter - September 2009

As it was so late in November before the October newsletter was ready we have rewritten it and, even though November is not yet complete, we have combined October and November into one bumper edition.  The activities for late November will be reported in the December edition.

Late October and early November were very exciting weeks for Little Stars as our west bank clinic was visited by Lord Carnarvon and Lady Fiona Carnarvon who were in Luxor for the opening of the Carter House Museum.  Almost ninety years ago Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings, and Lord Carnarvon’s great grandfather the 5th Earl, who financed the expedition, had helped to build the Carter House with his own hands.  The museum was opened by Dr. Zahi Hawass the Head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.  The Museum is very close to the clinic and representatives of Little Stars were invited to the event by the Governor of Luxor Dr. Samir Farag who has shown great interest in Little Stars


Lady Fiona Carnarvon with Aamer and Nagar Lord and Lady Carnarvon with Dr. HawassLady Carnarvon with our chairman

......Lady Carnarvon with Nagar and Aamer................... Lord and Lady Carnarvon with Dr. Hawass........... Lady Carnarvon with our Chairman..........

Lord Carnarvon’s visit to the clinic was marked by a small reception for supporters with a very large cake  which was made by a local west bank baker and tasted as good as it looked.  Lady Fiona helped distribute the cake to the children who had come to the clinic to celebrate their visit.  

During the reception a cheque for 25,000 le (approx £2,700) was presented to Lord Carnarvon by Mr. Ehab Gaddis the Honorary British Consul.  The cheque represented a donation from the British Embassy Port Said Fund toward the cost of establishing a dental facility in the clinic.  We are grateful to Mr. Gaddis for presenting the cheque and for giving us his time.  Mr. Gaddis cut the ribbon to open the clinic in January and at that time nobody could have anticipated how successful it would be. 

The celebration cakeLord Caranrvon and Ehab Gaddis

    During the reception at the clinic Lord Carnarvon accepted a cheque for 25,000 le  from Mr. Ehab Gaddis


This cheque, together with a generous donation from Lord Carnarvon, means that we now have sufficient funding for the work on the dental facility to start.  We have already secured the services of a dentist who will attend the clinic three days per week.  He will care for the teeth of the children who attend the clinic and of all the children in our sponsored families who will be brought to the surgery for treatment on a regular basis.  Times will be set aside when the village children who are not in our programme can come and have their teeth treated without charge.  We already have a large supply of toothbrushes that were donated by Mrs. Josie Skelton and more would be welcome.  A room in the clinic has been cleared in readiness for the work to start on tiling the walls and plumbing in the dental equipment that will be ordered from Cairo. 


Dr. Samir FaragDr. FaragDr. Samir Farag

               Dr. Samir Farag opening the art exhibition and thanking Little Stars for their work in Luxor

During the opening of a new art exhibition at the magnificent new Heritage Centre in Luxor our Chairman was invited to meet Dr. Farag who publicly gave thanks to Little Stars for the work that is being done to help Luxor’s children.  He has promised to visit the clinic as soon as it can be arranged.  We are very grateful to him for his help and hope that he will agree to officially open the new nursery school when it is completed.

The opening of the new nursery school has been hampered by the slow progress of the application for the license that necessary for its operation.  However, the paperwork for the Egyptian registration is now almost complete and the statutory funds are ready to be placed in the new Little Stars bank account in Luxor.  As soon as this paperwork is complete Little Stars will purchase the much needed vehicle to enable us to bring children to the clinic and the nursery school more easily.  We are now in a financial position to be able to buy the bus but are waiting for registration to be complete so that we can save on the tax payable as this is money that can then be used for equipping the nursery school and finishing the dental facility. 

With great trepidation, we returned to Haja Marise during the first week in November to deliver food parcels and assess new families for possible sponsorship.  Everyone we see is in need of assistance but until we have more sponsors we can only accept the most severe cases.  We were very worried about the baby that was suffering from malnutrition and the little girl with the severe skin infection.  It was with total delight that we saw that all the efforts the staff had made for the baby had paid off.  Not only was the baby still alive it was actually alert and thriving.  The baby’s mother could not stop smiling as she showed her tiny daughter to us.  There was good news of the girl with the skin infection too.  Her neck was clear and so was the rest of her body.  There are several scars but they were not deep and will fade with time. Mrs Philippa Thomas gave up her time to accompany us and help with the distribution of food parcels.  Travelling in the van with no seat belts and unpadded seats is extremely uncomfortable and hard on the spine so we were grateful for her help. 

We accepted five new families onto our sponsorship list in October; their need was great and all but one family was from Haja Marise.  Necessity is said to be the ‘mother of invention’ and it was while visiting one of these families that we saw an article of furniture made almost completely of mud.  Most of the houses are made of mud brick and many sleeping platforms are made in this way but this was the first time that we had seen a cupboard fashioned from mud.  Our first priority with these new families will be to provide then with somewhere to sleep so that they are off the floor and then with somewhere to cook other than on an open fire.


Furniture made of mudWater for washing has to be carriedFurniture is scant.

Furniture made of mud.    ...................           Water for washing has to be carried.     .............................            Furniture is scant

Children waiting for sweetsAnother new familyAbdll taking notes

Children waiting for sweets.         .......................               Another of our new families     .........................         Abdul taking details of a new family.


One of the major problems faced by our families is cooking on an open fire.  Even the cookers that are in place and normally very old and no longer working except for one of two of the rings.  This makes cooking for up to 8 children an almost impossible task.  We have been trying to locate a source of second-hand cookers that are cleanable, in working order and reasonably priced.  One supplier had assured us that he had a supply of suitable cookers at 100 le each (about £11) but on inspection they were useless and were rejected.  Another source has been found at 150 le and hopefully these will be in good order and many of our sponsored families will have something safer to cook upon in December.
Cooking on an open fireCooker with a broken doorCooker in need of replacement
Replacement cookers are vital for the safety of young children

It is less than a year since our sponsorship scheme started with a suggestion from Kit Claxton.  He sponsored the first family and fortunately many others followed.  Now there are about fifty families directly sponsored with more than 200 children being cared for.  The workload of managing this scheme and fund-raising is immense as we have no UK staff.  Our volunteer fundraisers have done a magnificent job and if you have a fund raising idea then please let us know.  Sometimes there is a feeling of inadequacy as the problem is so great and funds are limited.  The list of families waiting to enter our scheme seems endless as the poverty is so prevalent.  We have a page on Just Giving where you can create your own space and keep people informed of your own sponsored fund raising activities for Little Stars.  You can keep up to date with what is happening in Little Stars through our website and through our page on Face Book. 

We have had to take on more staff in Egypt to cope with the extra work.  In the clinic we have been joined by Aidah who will replace Hend who has left to get married.  Aidah is married with a young son and has proven to be an excellent addition to the staff.  We have also engaged an administrator whose job will be to look after the East Bank Distribution Centre and liaise with the West Bank Clinic and Nursery School to ensure their smooth running.  He will check goods in and out of the distribution centre and keep all records required for the Charity Commissions in the UK and in Egypt.  He is bilingual and will be able to translate for us when we visit the villages making it easier for us to understand their needs.  This will be a major advantage as our present staff members are all Arabic speakers except for Dr. Yara and the new dentist.

Clinic StaffAidah
Nasser our Needs Assessor, Abdul the Clinic Manager and our very efficient Driver.    Aidah who has replaced Hend

There is another Eid festival during the third week of November and we shall try to ensure that there is some small celebratory offering such as fruit or a packet of sweets and balloons for the children in each bag of our next consignment of food parcels.

If there is any aspect of Little Stars’ work that you would like to know more about or if there is any information that we can give you about the Luxor area that we cover, then please ask and we will write about it in our newsletters.  Clothes are always needed especially now that the cold weather is approaching.  Please try and squeeze a few children’s jumpers in your bag if you are visiting Luxor.  We have ordered 300 blankets from Cairo which will be distributed soon but that is not enough to keep out the cold.  The heat is excessive in summer but it can be exceptionally cold in the winter. 

We would like to thank our Egyptian volunteers Mr. Nagar Khalifa and Mr. Aamer Ibrahim for freely giving their time to arrange the reception for Lord Carnarvon and the meeting with Dr. Farag.    Thanks are also offered to Lord Carnarvon and Dr. Samir Farag for their support and to everyone who attended the reception and made it such a pleasant occasion.  

On behalf of the children, we would like to express gratitude to all our supporters who make this work possible.


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