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Little Stars - Luxor Children's Trust

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

Newsletter 52/53 - September / October 2011

Archived Newsletter 50/51- September/October 2011

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    Egypt

    Egypt is still in a state of turmoil which is expected to last until the elections take have finished in mid- 2013.  The elections for the lower house start in November and continue through December.  Elections for the Upper House start in January with the election of a new president planned for June 2013.  Until these are all complete it is impossible for the interim military government to make binding plans.  Violence still flares in Cairo as the Tahrir Square protestors continue to push for change.

    We are short of photos in our newsletters in this edition because we complete our rounds in the villages as quickly as we can for the safety of our staff.  Luxor as a city is safe but beyond the checkpoints violence is spontaneous as some factions take advantage of the lack of policing.  Kidnapping, robbery and bag snatches are on the increase but there has been no trouble in the vicinity of the Little Stars Centre. 

    Items for Luxor

    For some time we have been collecting items to be send to Luxor.  These are being stored in a lock-up until we can get them shipped to Luxor.  Quotes for transportation from the UK to Cairo have varied wildly between £2,500 and less than £500.  We are negotiating with the Charity Commission in Egypt to import the items without incurring customs charges as we are unwilling to use donors’ fund to pay any taxes to the government.  Our first attempt to get clearance was last February/March when we had a wasted visit to Cairo. We have now been promised help but the situation is in such flux, with a constant change of ministers and administrators that it is hard to the right person to deal with.

 

Packed in bagsMoving the cratesPacked crates

    Items that had been packed into black bin bags were repacked into crates and stored ready for shipment.

 

All the items were stored in the lock-up in black bins bags but we were able to buy some large plastic boxes at an advantageous rate from Staples and everything was emptied out and repacked.  This took a lot of time but will make shipping the items much easier.  In total we think the total weight will be around 700 – 800 kilos.  That is a vast amount of children’s clothing, toys and baby blankets and all of it came from our supporters. 

We were promised land for building n enlarged centre and creating a bath house at Haja Marise by the now removed Governor, negotiations will start with the new Governor as soon as possible.

Training Centre

 The training centre was due to be opened by the new Governor of Luxor, General Khaled Fouda, on the 2nd August and preparations were made.  On 1st August, he was called to Cairo and was dismissed.  This was the second Governor who had agreed to open the clinic.  The first Governor is in prison on charges of fraud and corruption.  A new Governor, Ezzat Mohammed Saad was appointed and took up his office in September.  The new Governor is a diplomat and has served as Egypt’s Ambassador in Russia and in South America and should be excellent in the position of Governor of Luxor  The changes made it hard to plan as there have been three Governors in the space of the last year and we hope that this one will be will be there long term.

Visitors:

Visitors are always welcome at our clinic and nursery school and we are delighted to arrange family visits whenever we can.   Regina Widd has been a family sponsor for some time and went with Little Stars staff to see her family in Haja Marise in January.  In September she was able to return to Luxor and was taken to see her family again.  All visits are escorted.  Below is her report on the occasion which to the family (a widow and her 4 children) was a celebration.

Second visit to my family :)

In September I flew back out to Egypt , and had arranged to visit my family in Haja Marise a few days after my arrival ...  Days before my leaving UK I had a bit of a disagreement with Easy Jet as I had asked for a few kg of extra " free " luggage ! I had sooo many things I wanted to take for my family and also clothes etc that friends at work had bought for the children  :)  - Sadly though Easy Jet does not seem to agree with free kgs for children charities and referred me to their luggage policy and offered me the option to pay at discount price ( still about £ 3o for 3 kg ) - Instead I unpacked all my clothes etc and decided to keep the suitcase solely for things ( clothes , crocs , flip flops , pencil cases , books , soap , toothpaste and brushes , first aid kid etc etc ) for my family ! ;) The 30 £ would be put to better use buying food !!!  - Solution for myself  : 2 pairs of desert shirts and 2 pairs of desert trousers ;) light , comfortable and take up very little space in one's hand luggage ;) 

 

    Reggie's visitREggie's visit

Reggie being swamped with children.

The night before visiting my family I went food shopping for them and next day filled the boot of the car with rice , flower , fruit , milk , eggs etc etc BUT ALSO bought a football with the Liverpool logo on ,for Adnan ,the boy of my family ....:))))) x

With Chris ( my friend and driver ) we set off the next day on our drive through the desert to meet up with Connie and Nagar in Luxor !  Seeing Connie again was lovely and we sat down for a well earned cup of tea whilst waiting on Nagar to come back with the new cooker for my family ! This also was to be a big surprise for them !!!! ( just as my visit ;)  

Anyway , eventually we set off to Haja Marise - temperature on that day : in the 40 's I think ;) x  I was EXCITED to see my family again - more so though couldn't wait to see the look on their faces on our arrival  :)))))   And they didn't disappoint :D:D:D lol ....Happy faces, great excitement and a warm welcome met us ....

Adnan's friend came up and showed me into the house followed by many children and adults alike - people I had never even met before :)))   Abna ( the mum ) greeted me with a warm hug and squeezing of my hand - our understanding between us ( I feel ) is great - despite the fact that we don't speak each others language - but we can simply communicate with the connection we feel and share ! 

Fantastic Chris , Nagar and Connie in the meantime had unloaded most of the shopping and brought it into the house ;) - though I did help ( a little lol ) .....

Then it came to unpacking everything and Adnan's best friend was almost in disbelief when he too received a present of a book and full pencil case !!! - The kids tried on their new crocs and Adnan's face lit up when he saw his football :))) I had also brought a few photos I had taken on my previous visit and put them into "see through magnetic photo frames" so they could  be stuck on to the fridge ! That way my family now can look at them whenever they want and know I will be with them in thought !!!! 

MY surprise was yet to come ;) !!!! 

 

Reggie's visitReggie's visit

Not just the family but all the neighbours piled into the house to join in the fun

I was able to stay with my family for a while and spend some real time with them rather than just a flying visit ! I was OVER THE MOON :)))))) - Our time together was brilliant - I learned all my family' s names - "talked" with Adnan and the girls about the photos I had brought - and took a "million"  more :D ....sat with Abna in the sand " talking " about shoe sizes for the children and explaining  the contents of the first aid kit - shared sweets , biscuits , working out how many months it will be before my next visit and just chatted - it was just BRILLIANT ! Through it all Armani  (the oldest girl of my family ) never let go of my hand ! Where ever I was she was by my side ! - It was lovely spending this special time with my family as I also learned more about the children's characters  - which is really nice ! 

At some point a chair was brought for me but poor Chris needed it more on that day - he was tired from driving and the heat was getting to him a bit !  When Connie and Nagar came back after their visit to another family - we were offered freshly made peach juice made with the water I had bought for my family ! - I really enjoyed it and it made Chris feel a lot better too :)))) 

The day had been sooo fantastic but then Connie surprised me with another suggestion !!!! :)))) - How would I feel taking the children school uniform shopping the next day ???? - How would I feel ?????:)))))) I can't even begin to describe how I felt ! CHUFFED TO BITS !!!! :))) 
The fact that all the girls wanted  to go to school ( Adnan is already attending school ) - made me feel really happy - as I believe that education is ultimately the key to a better future ....  So after saying our good bye's I left with a happy heart and a smile on my face knowing I would be able to spend more time with my family the next day !!!!  

The school uniform shopping trip is another story - but a very successful one ;) ! Adnan , Armani , Nermine and Sara now have a whole new school uniform , ties , shoes and  school bags - Adnan's school bag has the Liverpool logo on by the way ( chosen with a smile on her face by his mum ) - his belt also chosen by his mum - was chosen by her because it had my name on it or sort of ( my friends call me Reggie - the name on the belt is Regi ) so pretty close ;) still it is a nice belt ;) x 

We all had a fantastic time and we truly cherished our time together !  But time soon came when Chris and I had to head back to Hurghada ...

Saying good bye wasn't easy after such a happy and exciting time - looking into sad little faces , that were only just beginning to understand we had to go , was difficult  - hugs from the children -  Abna squeezed my hand for a long time and kissed it over and over again , saying something I didn't understand - I told her it is ok and no need - instead I hugged her and told her as before : Ana haetschi taeni - wad ! I will come back - I promise ! - and this time I am sure they understood and KNOW in their hearts  that this will be so ....

Last time I was the Lady who buys the chickens - now I am Reggie , family friend ;) x  I am proud to have been able to connect with such a wonderful little family !  Thanks to Little Stars and  Connie and Nagar this was made possible - and I will be forever grateful !!!!!  Thanks also to my lovely dear friend Chris who always ensures a safe trip ;) !!!!  

Love to you all - until January ! inshaAllah x                     Reggie Widd. – September 2012

 

    Thank you

    Egypt is in dire need of help and all the work done by Little Stars really does make a difference to many lives.

     

      Thank You

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


 

 

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