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Little Stars - Luxor Children's Trust

UK Charity Commission Registration Number 1120536

Newsletter 23 - April 2009

Archived Newsletter - March 2009


Although it was still only Spring, temperatures in Luxor soared to 48C (118 F) towards the end of April and the khamaseen winds whipped up sand storms that obliterated the sun and covered absolutely everything with grit which made people wonder if they would ever see a blue sky again.  Working in such conditions is hard; living in them without basic facilities is even harder.  Mud brick houses are cooler than brick houses but to be in temperatures above 100F without piped water, sanitation or a fan with up to eight children living in a small area where cooking is done on a fire or on a two-ring burner on the floor, makes the summer unbearable and the flies a severe health hazard. 

In April we had two student nurses, Sarah and Dominique, from Southampton University spending time with Little Stars as part of their nursing degree.  They are in the final year of studies and were looking at health systems in developing countries.  They were able to spend time in our clinic, visit the good Samaritan Home and, at the invitation of Dr. Rafik, visit the paediatric unit at the International Hospital as well as spending two days working with our Needs Assessor distributing clothing and food parcels in the villages.  On return to University they will give a presentation to their tutors and colleagues covering the work of Little Stars and comparing health systems to those in the United Kingdom.  Aamer Ibrahim our Translator volunteered to accompany them on their visit so that they could get answers to any questions they had about village life. The visit was very successful and we are willing to offer the same experience to two more student nurses next year.


Visiting nurses at the International HospitalGood Samaritan HomeGood Samaritan Home


Our visiting nurses spent time in the International Hospital and the Good Samaritan Home as well as with Little Stars.

Visiting nurses at the International HospitalVisiting FamiliesDistributing clothes


Dr. Rafik is the Senior Paediatrician at the International Hospital and has his own practice, but he is looking at his timetable to see if he can join the staff at the West Bank Clinic for several hours on three or four days each week.  His joining our staff would be a major enhancement to the provision we can offer.  Dr. Rafik’s wife is a consultant dermatologist and is also considering joining us on a part-time basis.  Dr. Rafik confirmed that there is no provision for disabled children in any of Luxor’s hospitals and that what we are doing is vital to the health of those who are in the most need.  If Dr. Rafik and his wife are able to join us, then we will have a physiotherapist, speech therapist, dermatologist and paediatrician in attendance at the clinic.  Hopefully we will one day be able to add a dentist and an optician.  We have already been approached about offering treatment and education for blind children and this is a project that we will consider in the future.


Distributing clothesNothing is as esciting as a balloonStocks are now depleted

New clothes are exciting but not as exciting as a balloon.  Our stocks of clothes are now very depleted.

Village childrenVillage familiesVillage families

As the temperatures soared we distributed the children’s summer clothes that we had in our Distribution Centre.  We still have a stock of baby clothes but most of our larger clothes have now gone and stocks are severely depleted.  All these clothes were donated by our supporters and family sponsors.  To supplement the summer clothes we have put in an order for 100 gelabyyas; 50 for boys and 50 for girls which we have been able to buy at an advantageous price but we need now to build up our stock of clothes for the winter so that we are ready for the cold weather when it begins.  We will also buy a further stock of blankets from Cairo.  Our sponsored families will not have to spend next winter sleeping on the floor and now have beds and local cotton mattress for protection but they will need blankets to keep warm during the cold desert nights.  If you are visiting Luxor on holiday please consider slipping a few T shirts in your bag.  The sizes most desperately needed at the moment are for children aged 8 to 12 years old but all items will be gratefully accepted. 

We also need to buy more wheeled walking frames in different sizes for children to use in their own homes.  Unfortunately we have not been successful in buying them in Luxor and so a trip to Cairo is needed to see the suppliers there.  Our stock of wheelchairs will also be replenished as many of them have now been distributed. Two TENS machines have been donated to the clinic and equipment has been bought to prepare a surgery room for a paediatrician.

One of our patients, a little girl who attended the old clinic at Seul and has attended the new clinic since it opened, is now about 4 years old and had been completely unable to walk.  With regular treatment to build up her leg muscles and with the assistance of walking aids to increase her co-ordination she has now been able to take her first steps holding her mother’s hand.  This is something that her mother had barely dared hope for.  Similar improvements have been observed in many children under the care of Dr. Yara.  The clinic has become well-known and is very well attended.  Opening hours will be adjusted for the summer as the heat of the afternoon makes travelling with a disabled child very difficult.

Attending the clinicLittle patient who can now walkLittle Patient

One of our little patients (pictured above) has been receiving treatment at the clinic and is now able to walk for the first time.


Plans are taking shape for the new Nursery School and we are seeking a supplier of a white board and of desks for the classroom.  We also need to design a simple school uniform for the children.  Hopefully these can be made locally.  We have tried throughout all our projects to use local materials and labour whenever we can so that we help not only those in our care but the local community too.  Unfortunately we are not able to do everything that we would wish to but as donations grow and funds increase we are really making a difference to the lives of people who have so little.

Little Stars has been given a Sony Hard Disc Video Camera on long-term loan and, once we have mastered its use and editing techniques, we hope to be able to make a short DVD of our work that we can send to supporters at the end of the year. 

While at the Good Samaritan Home this month we asked them to try and find a second hand mini-bus that they could use to transport their children to and from their school which has now moved premises from the building that was close by the Home to another one on the far side of the railway lines.  The bus would also be used to take children to Cairo for specialist treatment.  A second bus is being sought for Little Stars as now that we are considering collecting children from the villages to bring them to the new Nursery School transport is becoming a major problem.

There is only one month left of our second financial year and so much has been achieved that it does not seem possible that we have only been in operation for two years.  The drastic fall in the value of the pound that had plagued us at the beginning of 2009, and which immediately raised our costs by 25%, has eased slightly.  The cost of buying and distributing food is still far higher than it was until quite recently, which means that we cannot help as many people as we would wish to, but there has been a small but steady rise in value of the pound which we hope will continue.  However, your generosity has been wonderful and although we are watching our spending carefully, projects have not had to be curtailed due to lack of funds.

Total donations last year were approximately £36,000 but this year with a month still to go donations have already exceeded £52,000.  Our annual accounts will be submitted for approval at the end of May and will be sent to the Charity Commission as soon as approval has been received where they are available for on-line inspection.  Total expenses are still below the level of 15% of donations. 

During the month we were approached by several people asking for information that would enable them to make a bequest for Little Stars in their Wills.  We are identifiable by our unique Charity Commission number 1120536 and all details are on the website.  We now ask everyone who is considering making a Will to think of the children of Upper Egypt when finalising the details as they need you.    Please continue with your wonderful support.

You are welcome to print off a copy of our newsletter. Back copies have been archived through a link each month but if you wish us to send you copies of our newsletters then please send a large stamped addressed envelope to our UK registered office. Back copies printable on A4 paper can be emailed to you, and any queries answered, through


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