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Little Stars - Luxor Children's Trust

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

Newsletter 58/59 - March / April 2012

Archived Newsletter 56/57- January/February 2012

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Egypt

There is still a state of unrest in Egypt and it is not likely to improve until after the Presidential elections in June.  There have been massive fuel shortages for several months which has made transport difficult and costly as drivers have increased their prices.  Promises have been made that the situation will soon be rectified but it presses home the need for our own transport. 

The lack of fuel has extended to butane gas for cooking and now most of our families have been reduced to cooking on open fires again which is extremely dangerous for the children.  The price of a refilled gas canister rose from 6 le to around 40 le and then the disappeared completely and none could be found at any price.  We were put in the position of having bought new cookers and gas bottles but could not get the gas to fill them. 

Despite all the problems that the country is facing the future is bright and when confidence is restored the economy will improve and so will the lives of the Egyptian people. 

 
Haja MariseHaja MariseSmile
    Life is hard but that smile says it all.  Thanks to their sponsor, this family is about to have a proper toilet for the first time. 
 
    Fund Raising

    The recession has bit hard into every pocket and all charities are feeling the effects of diminished funds and increased demands.  The cost of raising funds is rising alarmingly with increased postal charges etc., but we now have professionally printed information sheets that are being distributed by our supporters.  Initially Sweet Dreams, who has pledged to raise £25,000 for Little Stars, had agreed to fund raise one year but has now agreed to fund raise for us for a second year.  This will make a vast difference to the work that we are able to do. 

    Thanks are needed to all our fund raisers.  We have two very special ladies who give up their spare time at weekends to collect funds for Little Stars.  Together with their buckets and a Tigger costume they have raised many thousands of pounds for Little Stars and have supported it since we began.   We would also like to thank Claire Murphy who runs Espirit Yoga (http://www.esprit-yoga.com/) for organising The Big 108 which is a sponsored Yoga Event on behalf of Little Stars.  Claire has a Just Giving page about the event with the aim of raising £1,000.  Jacqui Taliesin el Masry is a jewellery maker and has been making wonderful pendants for Luxor’s charities.  They can be found on her Alkemi website.  Many thanks everyone.  (http://www.alkhemi.co.uk/page27.htm).  We still have some of the engraved lovely wood turned pens that were made for Little Stars by Ron Cox.  Please contact us about these and any other fund raising ideas you might have.

 

Fund Raisers
Pendants made by Jacqui

The Big 108

20-Apr-2012 - [General News]  On Saturday 7th July, we shall be holding a sponsored yoga event to raise funds for a children's charity based in Egypt: Little Stars-Luxor.

The aim is to either do sun salutations for 108 minutes, or to complete 108 rounds of sun salutations (whichever gets completed first)

.http://www.esprit-yoga.com

The items shown below were among those donated by Col Coleman who lives in Luxor is manager of the Karnak Clothing Emporium and plays guitar and sings at JJ’s in Karnak.  The items were sold on behalf of Little Stars and enough money was raised to put a roof on a house in Haja Marise.  Thank you Col.

 
Egyptian SouvenirEgyptian SouvenirEgyptian Souvenir
 

    Shipment of Clothes to Egypt

    The wheels of bureaucracy turn exceedingly slow and at the end of April we were still waiting for the paperwork to be completed for the release of the essential items that are stuck in Alexandria.  As is usual in these situations, we were always one piece of paper short of what is required which then leads on to another piece of paper being missing ad infinitum.  We are trying desperately to remain patience as there is no way that the process can be hurried.  Although it is written in Egyptian law that charities do not pay import duty it appears that this is the first time that the law has been tested by anyone from Upper Egypt and we have to prove yet again that we are genuine Egyptian registered charity working for the good of Egyptian people. 

 
Children's clothesDressesToys

We have been sent some wonderful clothes and toys for the children.  These will be shipped to Luxor as soon as possible.

 
The wheels of bureaucracy turn exceedingly slow and at the end of April we were still waiting for the paperwork to be completed for the release of the essential items that are stuck in Alexandria.  As is usual in these situations, we were always one piece of paper short of what is required which then leads on to another piece of paper being missing ad infinitum.  We are trying desperately to remain patience as there is no way that the process can be hurried.  Although it is written in Egyptian law that charities do not pay import duty it appears that this is the first time that the law has been tested by anyone from Upper Egypt and we have to prove yet again that we are genuine Egyptian registered charity working for the good of Egyptian people. 

 We have been assured that this is a once only delay as, when all the security checks have been completed, then everything is set up for the next shipment.  We really do need to get the items released as soon as possible so that we can distribute much need clothing in the villages.  Little Stars is fortunate to have the full support of Dr Dardery, one of Luxor’s new Members of Parliament. 

 
Bags waiting to be packedMaking up the boxesGetting ready for shipment

When the boxes arrived and were taped up we were able to sort out the lock-up again

 

Although we still have a consignment waiting for release in Alexandria, we have already started collecting clothes, shoes, toys, sewing items and household items for the next shipment.  We bought a batch of boxes from Ebay and have started packing them ready for shipment. 

 

Building Programme

We are delighted to report that we have had specific and general donations sufficient to undertake several building projects in the coming months.  At the end of April work started on completely rebuilding one house in Haja Marise, digging a sewage pit in another, putting a roof on a third and creating a kitchen/cooking area in a fourth.  The cost of these projects amounts to around £2,000 sterling.  In Europe this would cost many times that amount. 

 
Haja MariseHaja MariseHaja Marise

Due to the generosity of a sponsor we are able to demolish and rebuild this crumbling mud house in white brick.

 

Haja MariseHaja MariseHaja Marise

Thanks to our supporters – the first family gets a new roof – the second a toilet – and the third a kitchen.

 

All building is done by local men, which brings work into a job starved community and although the finish may leave a lot to be desired by European standards, the houses are solid and provide a safe environment for the children.  Workers are pleased to be able to help others and, even though their own lives are hard, all of them have given a generous discount on their already low prices.  We are grateful to them all and grateful to our supporters who made this possible. 

 

Training Centre

The Training Centre is now flourishing with courses running in sewing and in literacy.  In April we distributed ten sewing machines and sewing kits to students who had successfully completed their course so that they can start their own small businesses ventures.  The women are very proud of what they have achieved and were delighted with the machines.  This is only a small step towards self-sufficiency but it is an important one.  A new batch of sewing machines will be ordered as soon as funds allow and will be given to the students on the present course.  This is a major achievement for Little Stars as there are no other Training facilities on the west bank.

Reality has still to be taken into account and the women have signed or made their mark on an agreement acknowledging that the sewing machines still belong to Little Stars but will be left with them for as long as they need them.  This step was taken to ensure that the machines are used to create a business and are not sold on.

 
 
SEwing machines given to studentsSewing KitsSewing Class Students
Each student was given a sewing machine and a comprehensive sewing kit
 
Sewing Class StudentStudents receiving their machinesNew sewing machine
The women are anxious to learn and proud of what they have achieved.
 

Future Projects

We have not been able to see the Governor recently about the possibility of land being donated to Little Stars by the Egyptian Government for building a bath house at Haja Marise and an enlarged centre in Qurna.  It is difficult to pin any Government official down about anything at the moment and will remain difficult until the Presidential Elections have taken place in May and June.  Only then will there be hope of stability with the reinstatement of the police and other officials.  At present it appears that many are unsure of the permanence of their role and are unwilling to make any decisions which includes signing papers.  However, these are still on-going projects along with the proposed drop-in centre for street children on the west bank.

 
Luxor’s Youth
Boxing EquipmentLuxor Boxing Club
The Boxing Club has female as well as male members
 

We are pleased to have been able to help Luxor’s youth through the Boxing Club run by an Englishman called Ken Robinson who gives up what spare time he has to be Luxor’s official boxing coach.  Due to transport problems at the moment we are only able to get a few items to Luxor but hope to be able to send more once our shipments are more frequent.  If you have any boxing equipment that you are no longer using and are willing to let the young people have it, then please send it to us.  We will get it out to Luxor on your behalf.

Happiness - Haja Marise
Happiness is a brick house and a new cooker.......

 

    Thank You

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


 

 

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