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Little Stars - Luxor Children's Trust

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

Newsletter 54/55 - November / December 2011

Archived Newsletter 52/53- September / November 2011

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Egypt

In November the Egyptian people went to the polls to freely elect a Government of their own choice for the first time after 60 years of military rule. The elections for the lower house were completed in December and elections for the upper house start in January 2013.  The election of a new president is in June.  The new Parliament will sit for the first time in January. Work is now being undertaken by the Interim Government to repair Egypt’s failing infrastructure and hopefully policing will soon restored.  Mubarak is on trial in Cairo and the country is beginning to move forward

However, while this was happening both Cairo and Luxor were in a state of flux with outbursts of violence regularly occurring.  A police station in Luxor was stormed and a renowned library in Cairo was burned.  Soaring food prices and grain shortages coupled with a gas shortage which made its price increase by up to 500% made life even harder for those for whom life was already almost unbearable.  Demands on Little Stars rose alarmingly beyond the level of our resources. 

Sadly, without a strong police presence, guns have proliferated and armed kidnapping and robberies have increased in the Luxor area.  Kidnappers appear to be targeting young women and the children of officials with demands of money for their release but cars have also been ‘kidnapped’ also with demands for money.   Bag snatchers are at work in Luxor, targeting both Egyptian and European women some of whom have been injured.  As some of the weapons are in the hands of very young men, the situation has made the work Little Stars does in the villages harder and again we commend our staff or their dedication and bravery.

Training Centre

We are delighted to report that, after many delays, the Training Centre was officially opened by the new Governor of Luxor on 11th August.  We are very grateful to him for giving up so much of his time.

 
The Governor's arrival The Nursery SchoolThe Governor was intereted in all aspects of the Nursery School

The Governor visited the nursery school and ask many questions about what the children were learning

 
The Governor visited all parts of the centre and stayed for much longer than scheduled.   He started his visit in the Nursery School and was interested in what the children were learning.  We stressed that although we provided an excellent learning environment the children had no place of safety where they could play outside.  We have a large outside terrace area where we keep the ‘Wendy’ houses but there is not enough room there for more than a few children to play at the same time.  We asked his support in our request for Government land to build a one site centre complete with play area for when our lease on the present premises runs out in two years’ time.
 
Meeting our doctorsMeeting our doctorsMeeting our doctors
The Governor spoke to each of the doctors and nurses individually
 

After the Nursery School, he inspected the clinic and spoke to all of our doctors and nurses individually about their work.  He was very impressed with the cleanliness of the clinic and the high standard of the clinic’s equipment which he thought was superior to most private clinics in Luxor.  During December 5,000 leaflets were distributed in the local community about the work of the centre and this has seen a dramatic increase in the number of disabled children attending the clinic for treatment and in applications for the Training Centre courses.  This means more work for the staff but they are dedicated to helping the women and children who need them the most and never complain.

 
Cutting the ribbonInspection the Sewing RoomInspecting the Sewing Room
    The Governor cut the ribbon to open the Centre and inspected the Sewing Area.
 
The Governor cut the ribbon to officially open the Training Centre and met many of the women who were learning to use the machines in the Sewing Room.  All of the students are local women.  A selection of their work was put on display and after the visit all the clothes were distributed among the families in the villages. 

In order to make the best use of the machines and meet the demand for the course, two groups of students were enrolled with one attending in the morning and another in the afternoon.  It is hoped that funds can be found to buy a simple sewing machine for each woman who completes the course so that she can start a small sewing service in her village and move her family towards self-sufficiency.

The main point raised by the Governor during his visit was that the Training Centre was dedicated to helping local women and is the only centre of its kind in Luxor, not only because it is so well equipped and has a wide range of courses (IT, literacy and sewing) but also because the whole provision was offered without charge.  It has the propensity to change many lives and is a safe environment in which women can learn. 

 
Celebratory CakeCake and orange juice was bought for the childrenThe Governor cuts the cake
A cake was bought as a special treat for the guests and the children
 
As this was a special occasion we turned it into a small party for the staff and the children with a special locally made cake that was cut by the Governor and enjoyed by all.  Extra trays of cakes and cases of ‘pop’ and orange juice were ordered to make sure that every child has a special treat.

The possibility of Little Stars being given Government land to build a bath house at Haja Marise was also discussed but nothing can really be decided until after the elections are completed and a new Government is in place.  Our most pressing concern was getting clearance for the consignment of children’s clothes and toys, medical equipment and Training Centre items that are in the UK awaiting shipment to Egypt.  He promised that he would do everything that he could to ensure that it was not held up in customs or that excessive duty would not be imposed.  However, we were not able to get the same assurance from the Egyptian Charity Commission.  

Supporters sent items to be shipped to Luxor throughout November and December and the crates are filling up rapidly.  We expect to send around 700 kgs of items at some time during January.  Among the items received were hand knitted babies’ clothes, blankets, hats and mittens, children’s T shirts and material for the sewing centre. 

 
StorageKnitted clothes for the childrenKnitted clothes donated for the children
 
Knitted clothes donated for the childrenMaterial donated for the training centreKnitted blankets for the children
    Items sent to us to be shipped to Luxor included, baby clothes and material for the Training Centre
 

Fundraising

Little Stars' half yearly accounts were prepared at the end of November and donations at that point reached £31,682. This is lower than at the same time last year but it still excellent at a time when all charities are struggling and the world is in recession. Thank you for the support. We are grateful for every penny - and every penny has made a difference to someone's life.

 

Sponsors

We are still receiving applications from supporters to adopt an Egyptian family.  Sadly, we are not able to extend the scheme to new families at the moment.  We have had a lot of houses fall into disrepair recently and some of the repairs are costly if we are to stop a house falling down.  Sponsors help towards the cost of feeding families but about 50% of the cost comes from the general fund.  This has meant we have had to make decisions on priorities.  Fortunately some of the disappointed sponsors have agreed to support Little Stars anyway and have become sponsors for the Nursery School, Clinic or Training Centre instead.  A regular income for these areas will allow us to buy materials and expand the scheme to help more people. 

 
The nursery school

All the children in the Nursery School are from very poor families.  All the uniforms, shoes, bags and books were bought by Little Stars from your donations.

 
 
 
Thank You
 
With you we can do so much - Without you we can do nothing
 

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