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Little Stars - Luxor Children's Trust

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

Newsletter 50/51 - July / August 2011

Archived Newsletter 48/49- June/July 2011

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We are very sorry for the lateness of this edition of our newsletter.  It should have been published several weeks ago and we apologise for the delay.  We will do our best to publish the next edition on time 

Little Stars Centre

Arrangements had been made for our Training Centre to be opened by the new Governor of Luxor on the 2nd August 2011.  Unfortunately the Governor was called to Cairo on the 1st August and was replaced by another new Governor whom we have yet to meet.  We are hoping that the promises made by the previous short-term administration will be kept and that the land we need for the development of an independent centre in Gurna and a bathhouse in Haja Marise will be met.

The date for the parliamentary elections has been set for November and Luxor is among the first regions to be able to vote for the new Government.  Voting for a new President will not take place until all the regional elections are complete which will be sometime in 2012.  Many new parties have risen since the ‘Revolution’ and voting is going to be complex.  We are sincerely hoping that the newest Governor will retain his position no matter which party is elected.  However, with everything in a state of flux it is hard to make firm plans.

We are seeking land for a new centre because time has passed quickly and we now have only two years left to run on our present lease on the clinic and three years on the nursery school.  When we opened the clinic, the building was single story and we were the only occupants.  Now the building has five stories and many occupants which has rendered it far less suitable for children and it no longer affords the level of security for the children that we would wish for.  Also, at present there is no outside area where for our children to play as the hopes we had of renting the land at the rear of the building did not materialise. While it is likely that the leases could be renewed, the rent will rise considerably and become even more burdensome that it is now.  If we are given the land as promised, then we can start building a comprehensive new centre bit by bit.  This would allow us to have a play area and a small livestock area so that we can teach animal care and dairy skills. 

Everything inside the clinic, nursery school and Training Centre belongs to us and that includes all the fittings so we would only incur the cost of the basic structure.  We are hoping to see the new Governor soon and will report back to you on our progress.

Clinic Services

Dental health is not a high priority among west bank families and we consider that our dental surgery is at times under-used.  The concept of getting children’s teeth checked rather than waiting until there is a problem with toothache still has to be adopted as a general principle.  In order to educate, we have distributed 5,000 leaflets in the villages saying what the centre does and encouraging people to get their children’s teeth checked regularly. 

The same applies to the General Practitioner services that we offer.  We would like to encourage mothers to bring their children for regular health checks so that health, weight and growth can be monitored, rather than leaving visits until a child is actually sick and in need of care.  This can only be done through education.  We have sufficient baby clothes to offer all new mothers who come to the clinic, clothing and basic baby items and we hope that this will act as an incentive

 

Baby clothesBaby clothesBaby blankets

We thank Pat Udall for knitting baby clothes.   Pat is confined to a wheelchair and is a great supporter of Little Stars

 

Supporters

We were fortunate to have the help of Philippa Thomas again.  Philippa has supported Little Stars since we started and was involved with the original little clinic that we funded in Seul.  Philippa came out with us to deliver food parcels and noted the differences that have occurred over the last three years.  It was during Ramadan and was extremely hot with temperatures above 40 Centigrade which with put immense pressure on our staff who were unable to drink during daylight hours.  Philippa kindly wrote a report of her observations

 

Children in Haja MariseChildren in Haja MariseChildren in Haja Marise

    Philippa’s photos of the children at Haja Marise.
 

Philippa’s Report

“The last time that I visited Haja Marise was at the beginning of May in 2010. Little Stars had been delivering food parcels for a while and were just starting to equip the homes there with beds, cookers
and fridges.
 
I went with Connie in August this year and I was very pleasantly surprised in the changes at Little Stars. Firstly, there has been a change of management staff and the whole centre is now run much more efficiently. The staff are happier and things get done.  Secondly, the upstairs is now finished and there are several teaching rooms available for young women to learn a new trade. This will enable them to be independent and hopefully will increase the family income.  Thirdly, the nursery school is now open and up and running giving free education to those children who otherwise would not be able to afford to go to school in the local community. The whole centre is bright, cheerful and welcoming to all those who need to use its facilities.
 
Then we went on to Haja Marise to deliver the food parcels. During the last 15 months since I was there last, it has changed quite a lot. The people are now starting to take pride in their homes, appearance and their children. One women took me into her home and  showed me that she was using the cooker, fridge and the new bedroom  that Little Stars had provided for her family. She was so proud of them and now kept her house clean and tidy, whereas before it was dirty and neglected. Everywhere we went, the children looked healthier and better cared for than before and the adults have lost that look of hopelessness and despair. However, there is still a long way to go to get the village to be independent from outside aid and hopefully with the help of Little Stars, the village is on the right track to becoming a much better place to live in.

Thank you Little Stars and long may it continue in its work on the West Bank.
 
Philippa Thomas – August 2011

 

    Rebuilding Homes

    Our house building programme is continuing in both Marise and Haja Marise, both projects being funded by their sponsors. In Haja Marise the aim is to turn an empty roofless shell into a home for an abandoned wife and her four children.  The first thing to do done was to add a roof but this was initially impossible as the walls were low and uneven.  Layers of bricks were added to the wall to give it the necessary height and the floor was levelled ready for laying a cement floor.  When the roof was added and the floor laid what had been a useless shell was suddenly a home.  It was without water, sanitation or electricity but it was still somewhere that the family could call their own.  There is a problem installing the electricity as there are no nearby access points but this problem will be solved.  Water can also be piped but sanitation is always going to be a problem as it is in the entire village.

 
Building up the wallsThe building takes shapeBuilding up the walls

Before the roof could be put on the walls had to be raised.  The walls were covered in mud to deter scorpions.

New roofNew roofNew front door
When the roof was in place the floor was cemented.  The family is shown with the new front door which awaits installation
 
The other on-going project is in Marise.  The house there has had its roof put on and its floor installed.  The family are delighted.  There is electricity in the house and we have put in cooling fans but there is a water problem as water can only be pumped from the well.  We had hoped to be able to install a septic tank but this requires a water supply.  If we dig a long-drop type toilet then it could foul the water supply so we are trying to solve the problem by installing toilets, which could be used by several families, on the other side of the canal.
 
New room built in MariseNew room in MariseElectricity and fans have been installed
    The new room in Marise is now complete with floor, roof, door, fan and new beds.
 
    Fund Raising

    One of our supporters, Marianne Van Vilsteren makes greetings cards which her husband sells to his friends in America.  Marianne donates the proceeds to Little Stars and has made a vast difference not only to the life of the family that she sponsors but to the lives of many others.  Lynne Weyman buys children’s toys at car boot sales and resells them on Ebay for Little Stars.  The funds she has raised in this way have helped many.  If you think of a way of raising funds for Little Stars we would be very grateful.

     We were recently approached by an ex-resident of Luxor who has started a recycling project in the north of England and has organised bag collections of unwanted clothes, bags CDs and DVDs in Lancashire.  The donation to Little Stars of funds raised from the resale of these goods is very generous and will help Little Stars enormously.  Larger charities are able to operate their own fund raising charity shops but this is not viable for small charities like Little Stars.  Bag collections are an excellent alternative.  If you have one of our bags come through your door.  Please donate your unwanted items.  It really will help the children.

 

     

    Thank You

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


 

 

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