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Little Stars - Luxor Children's Trust

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

Newsletter 56/57 - January / February 2012

Archived Newsletter 54/55- November /December 2011

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Egypt

Egypt is becoming more stable as the elections for the Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament were completed during January and February.  Nominations for the presidency have to be submitted in March with the actual election taking place in May.  The result should be known in late June. We are grateful for the support of Luxor’s members for both houses.

Tourism in Egypt is still well below the normal levels for the winter months, which is Egypt’s high season, and this has affected Luxor greatly.  Due to low bookings, several flight operators have cancelled their services to Luxor for the summer months which impacts even further on the economy.  Published statistics show that tourism (and incomes) dropped by 30% in the last year but the actual drop is far greater.  In order to increase investment, the figures have included everyone coming into the country whether they are returning workers or transit passengers and not just tourists who would boost the economy.  This situation is not likely to improve until the presidential elections have been completed and all unrest has been dealt with.  Unfortunately, there is still little or no police presence except for traffic police and airport customs seeking the illegal export of antiquities.

There is an illegal building boom on both sides of the river which has brought work to some but for most times are hard and getting harder.  The proliferation of firearms has increased with the opening of further gun shops but there have been few incidents of shootings. Youths, who are at best badly educated, are finding the recession in Egypt very hard to cope with and some are turning to easier ways of making money which has led to a great increase in the number of bag snatches.  This is not being directed only at tourists as it is affecting both locals and foreigners, however, the victims are predominantly women.

The continuing problems in Egypt have pushed demands on Little Stars to record levels and we are even more dependent on your support than ever.

 
Children of Haja MariseChildren in Haja MariseAnn Hazell visiting the nursery school
Children of Haja Marise and a supporter visiting the Nursery School
 
Shipment of Clothes to Egypt

 

The boxes ready for shipmentShipment of children's clothesshipment for the children

    40 boxes of clothes and equipment were shipped to Egypt at the beginning of February 2012

 
Little Stars has been collecting clothes, toys and equipment ready for shipment to Egypt and distribution in the villages for the last six months.  By late January, everything was packed into plastic crates and sealed ready for collection by the shipping company.  In all, 40 crates were sent to Alexandria aboard the Montano which was due to arrive in port at the end of February.  We were not able to get a certificate of duty exemption from the minister before the shipment left, but we were hoping to get one before it arrives.  The paperwork has been immense but once this shipment has been cleared then it will pave the way for more consignments and we are already collecting items for the next shipment with great optimism. 
 
Parcels for the childrenChildren's toysToys for the children
    New bags of clothes and toys started arriving as soon as the consignment had left.
 

Building Programme

Several of our sponsored families have had major problems with their houses recently.  In one case a whole wall was knocked down leaving a widow with four children with nowhere safe to live.  In another case a major crack appeared right through the middle of a mud brick house.  In Haja Marise a man has tried to build a home for his family but has been unable to finish it.  At the same time as dealing with new problems, work that was already in progress put a major strain on resources. 

 
Unfinished house at Haja MariseCracked huose at Nage BirkaDamaged house at Haja Marise

a) Needs a roof, floors and doors.      .......          b) This one has huge cracks      ................       c) Has had a wall knocked down

 

So far we have been unable to tackle the first two houses shown but we were able to completely rebuild the house with the knocked down wall.  It is a simple structure with only one room, but it has brick walls, a good roof a solid floor and what is even more important, it is now a home.

The new house at Haja MariseThe family homeA new front door

The house with the missing wall has been completely rebuilt providing a home for a widow and her 4 children
 
Delivery of gas cookers

With the assistance of their sponsors, we were able to buy more cookers and distribute them in January.  This is not an extravagance as cooking on open fires is very dangerous to young children.  More cookers will be bought in April and, if funding permits, small fridges will also be bought. The distribution of the sewing machine was postponed until we receive the sewing kits (scissors, cottons, bobbins, etc.) that are in the boxes sent in the shipment. 

 
elivering the cookersA new cooker and a big smileA new cooker and a proud Mum
    Cookers were given to families with young children.
 
    Fund Raising
We would like to thank our supporters for their wonderful efforts in fund raising.  Mr Ronald Cox of Great Yarmouth has created a batch of specially made wood-turned pens which bear the Little Stars name.  Ron will be offering these at craft fairs but they will also be available through our Internet Charity Shop as soon as we are able to create the site.    We would also like to thank Jacqui Taliesin El Masry for making and selling beautiful pendants to raise funds for Little Stars.  The pendants are available through Jacqui’s website and at craft fairs.  - http://www.alkhemi.co.uk/page27.htm , they will also be available through our own  Internet shop as will all the Egyptian items donated to Little Stars by Mr Colin Coleman of Luxor.
Hand turned pens by Ron CoxPendant made by JacquiPens made by Ron Cox

Beautiful pens and pendants have been made specially to raise funds for Little Stars.

 

Thanks are also offered to the friends of Mrs. Jane Copeman for their donations to Little Stars that were made in lieu of Mrs Copeman’s 70th Birthday presents.  It was a greatly appreciated gesture.  We also greatly appreciate the efforts of Mr Raymond Moe who is collecting medicines for the clinic from doctors and pharmacies.  This will extend the treatments that our doctors can offer.

 
Supporters' Visits
 
We try to show our work to our supporters whenever we can. Sometimes, due to time restrictions and language problems, this is not always possible, but in January we were pleased to show Anne and Phil Hazell around the centre and take them to Haja Marise. Their report on the visit is shown below.
 

A CHANCE MEETING

I frequently look back on my life and wonder at the many at the amazing changes and directions that have taken place due to chance meetings. One such meeting occurred back in late February 2010. My wife and I run a small tour organization specializing in adventure type holidays in the city of Luxor, Egypt. One evening we were travelling on the ferry that connects the West and East banks of the city where we met a dynamic Englishwoman  who was en-route to a village on the West Bank to deliver a fridge and a cooker to a family there. Yes, you’ve guessed it – Connie. After a chat lasting about 15 minutes she scribbled down the address of “Little Stars” website. On our return to the UK we looked at the website and were truly amazed at the work that was being done and the fantastic results that were being achieved. The following year our tour date did not coincide with Connie’s monthly visit, however, she had told us about the Clinic and Nursery at Qurna which we managed to track down.

On our arrival at the clinic there were no English speaking people to show us around and none of the rooms were occupied, however, we were more than impressed with the high standard of the interior of the building and the equipment installed therein (especially the dentist’s chair).

But what a difference this year, as we were able to meet Connie again and have a conducted tour of the clinic, schoolroom and training centre. The nursery was in full swing and the children were delightful. Seeing the skills of the women learning to use sewing machines, a manual version of which they would eventually have for their own use at home was so encouraging. They also attend literacy classes there so their potential for the future is thrilling.

We were then driven by Nagar Khalifa, (Connie’s R. H. man) acting as interpreter, motivator and organizer of work on the villagers homes, to Haja Marise . We had deliberately chosen not to sponsor a particular family but just to help with general funds so we were shown several of the homes that Little Stars are helping, by repairing roofs, plastering walls, concreting floors, installing gas cookers the list goes on and on.

Our next trip to Luxor will be early in 2013 which we hope will coincide with Connie’s so we can repeat this experience and indeed for many years to come. Inshallah.

Phil and Anne Hazell.

 

Future Developments

 
We are constantly being asked to expand the services we provide but either through lack of funding or shortage of staff, we are not able to consider many of them at present.  We will, however, push the Governor of Luxor for land to build a purpose built centre and ask for a piece of land large enough to enable expansion should funds ever be available.
 
Smile
    A picture is worth a thousand words and this smile says it all.

 

    Thank You

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


 

 

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