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Little Stars - Luxor Children's Trust

UK Charity Commission Registration Number 1120536. Egyptian Charity: Luxor Charity No.8 (2010)
 

Newsletter 42/43 - November /December 2010

Archived Newsletter 40/41- September/October 2010

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SEASONS GREETING AND HAPPY 2011

May we wish all our supporters a prosperous and happy new year.  2010 just fled by and no doubt 2011 will do the same.  During November, Little Stars had a number of visitors who observed our work in the villages and in the clinic.  More visitors are expected during January and February.  A lot of extra work installing furniture and fittings was undertaken on the Training Centre which is now almost complete.  However, the main aspect of Little Stars during the two months was the distribution of winter clothing and warm blankets to the children in the villages. 

The intense summer heat, where it reached 47C, had long gone and the night temperatures plummeted.  As all village houses are without heating and most are missing doors and windows it is intensely cold.  With only mud floors and walls and a straw roof, finding ways of keeping the children warm was essential especially as there had been some severe sand storms during December and loose thatch had been swept away by the wind. 

We had built up a large stock of coats and warm jumpers in our Distribution Centre over the year thanks to donated clothes being brought out to Luxor by tourists and the very generous allowances offered to us by Thomson Flights.  All 300+ children in the sponsorship programme have received warm clothing and the blankets, which were very large, were distributed at the rate of one blanket per 2 children. To supplement the blankets we also had the hats and shawls knitted by the ladies of Vision Support in Wales and crocheted shawls made by Pat Udall. 

 

New CoatsNew CoatsNew Coats

All the children received warm coats or jumpers.

The children were totally delighted with their new clothes and were desperate to pose for photos.  Most were able to have coats that fitted them well but in one of two cases it was rolled up sleeves but this made no difference, the smiles still reached ear to ear. 

Our stocks of clothes are now severely depleted and the racks are empty.  Hopefully, when winter comes round again they will be bulging with items.  If you are coming to Luxor at all during the year, please see if you can slip a couple of fleeces in your case.  They are very light and very much appreciated. As can be seen from the photos, what is needed now is a big batch of shoes.

 

New CoatsNew CoatsNew Coat and Hat

 

Early in November we were visited again by representatives of the British Embassy who were in Luxor to hold a ‘Consular Clinic’ where expats could sort out their problems.  The Embassy charity fund has been very supportive and last year generously funded the dental surgery in the clinic.  Following this visit they asked us to advise them of our needs and we shall be approaching them with a proposal for funding more equipment for the Training Centre which was of immense interest to the British Vice Consul Mr. Neil Hulbert who was accompanied by Mr. Ehab Gaddis the Honorary British Consul for Luxor.

 

British Vice Consul VisitRepresentative from the Foundation

We were visited by the British Vice Consul and by representatives from the Europe based Foundation. .
 

Our second group of visitors were from a Europe based Foundation.  This group consisted of three young men and their mentor.  We had received a request that they be taken around the villages so that they could observe how desperately poor a very large percentage of the world’s population was. 

We were able to take them to Haja Marise where they constructed beds that were harder to put together and had more bits missing than any European flat pack item but they managed to put them together successfully.  In Haja Marise they met some of the families in our sponsorship programme and were able to play ball games with the village children. They also spent time in the clinic and the nursery school and then visited our Distribution Centre on the east bank.  We are pleased to be able to extend their education and naturally we are hoping that the Foundation will be able to reciprocate and help us towards funding a mini-bus or truck as the situation over transportation is now a major problem.

 

Little Stars’ half year accounts were completed at the end of November which showed that donations of £33,000 were received, (plus £1,950 Gift Aid), which is sufficient to cover all Little Stars’ project expenses, but there was still a 25% reduction on last year’s donations at the same half year point.  This was a far lower reduction than many charities have experienced and one Luxor charity has already closed through lack of support, but it is severe enough for us to shelve some of our plans. Consequently we have abandoned the proposed purchase of the truck until we have the finances to buy one without severely depleting the charity’s reserves.  Completion of the Training Centre was the main drain on finances during the first half of the financial year but the building work is now finished and apart from needing some more equipment, the centre is almost complete and we can start building up our reserves again. 

The Training Centre was funded from the main charity fund with specific donations from Dr. Diane Johnson, Lynne Weyman, Janet Hall and the St. James Place Trust Fund.  We are aiming to make the Centre multi purpose, bright and cheerful.  The Centre has gone from being a cavernous space to an inviting learning centre which we hope will change the prospects of many young women from the villages and will give them skills to lead them out of poverty.

Cavernous SpaceCavernous spaceThe walls go up

Before – a cavernous space – then the walls went up

The main roomThe sewing AreaThe literacy area

Now a nearly completed comfortable well equipped place of learning

 

The desks are in place in the literacy area, the sewing room is arranged complete with a large table for use in cutting cloth.  The IT section will be completed very shortly when the wiring is in place.  The kitchen equipment has been installed and the kitchen cupboards are waiting to be put on the walls.  The staff room has a table and chairs and the staff will soon have individual lockers.  Pictures and Notice Boards will soon be put on the walls and bolts of cloth will be bought for the sewing room.  A sewing teacher has already been appointed.  We are proud of the Centre and consider it a major achievement.

Luxor has many tourists who wish to support local industry but it lacks a proper Fair Trade Centre.  We have been approached many times by tourists and residents asking if we will set up such a shop.  We are always seeking ways of making Little Stars more self financing but at present we do not feel able to take on this as a project.  However, we will bear this in mind for the future, especially when our first trainees have finished their courses and are looking for a fair trade outlet for things that they might make.

We would like to thank the Luxor based companies that now have Little Stars collecting cans.  There is one in The Lantern Restaurant and another in the Luxor4u Network offices; with thanks to the support of Mr. Ehab Gaddis, one will soon be in place in the foyer of the Gaddis Hotel.  If you have any loose change when you are in Luxor then please pop it in the cans and give us your support.

We would also like to thank all those wonderful people who gave up their Christmas gifts to send cheques to Little Stars and to Peter Allingham of Ancient World Tours who made a Christmas appeal to his clients on behalf of Little Stars and raised more than £850 on Christmas Day.

We have a new year ahead of us and there is still so much to be done and many problems to be tackled.  Poverty is not going to be away nor is it likely to be beaten but we are making a real difference to the lives of many people and are providing a vital service to the local community.

 

New CoatsNew CoatsNew Clothes

 

    Thank You.

    With you we can do so much – Without you we can do nothing.


 

 

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