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Little Stars - Luxor Children's Trust

UK Charity Commission Registration Number 1120536
 

Newsletter 24 - May 2009

Archived Newsletter - April 2009

On the 29th May Little Stars celebrated its second birthday and congratulations and good wishes for continued success came from around the world saying that Little Stars had achieved more than could ever have been anticipated in the short time it had been operating in Luxor.  Over the last two years YOU as supporters have donated more than £95,000 towards Little Stars’ projects and the care of Luxor’s disabled and disadvantaged children.  The exact figures for 2008-2009 will be announced when all the accounts have been completed and approved ready for submission to the Charity Commission.

The last year was been one of finding the right staff, finding the right premises and refining our aims so that as many children can be helped as possible.  Little Stars now has a team of seven Egyptian workers which will increase to nine when Dr. Rafik and his wife join us.  Dr. Rafik is the Senior Paediatrician at the International Hospital.  We also have several excellent Egyptian volunteers in Luxor as well as a dedicated fund-raising team in the UK without whose efforts Little Stars would be far less effective.

We would like to offer Lord Carnarvon our sincere thanks for his support over the year and for allowing us to name the west bank clinic in honour of him and his ancestors who all had a great love of Egypt.  With your continued support the year 2009 – 2010 will be just as innovative and exciting as the last year has been.

In order to bring our newsletter and the charity to the attention of more people we have installed an automatic language translator on our websites.   One click of the button translates the whole site into the selected language.  Automatic translators are not one hundred percent accurate as sometimes the context of words is lost but they do give the basic information.  The translator we have used only translates from English to the selected language and so it is not possible to freely switch from one language to another; from French to German for example.  Little Stars is proud of its website and its regular updates and will continue to bring you a monthly report to keep you informed of all Little Stars activities.

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Translator

 

When the year started Little Stars was financially supporting two Manacare clinics in Luxor.  The support ceased for one clinic in October 2008 and for the other clinic in January 2009 when Manacare were in a position to recommence support themselves.  To maintain provision, Little Stars opened its own clinic on the West Bank and intends to open a similar clinic on the East Bank when funds allow.  The new clinic proved to be a great success right from the beginning and has seen some spectacular improvements in the health and mobility of many disabled children.  The next step will be the provision of general paediatric care which has already started in the villages where sick children are collected by Little Stars and taken to the local hospital for treatment with the cost of transport, treatment and medication being covered by Little Stars. Unfortunately the hospital has no facilities for the treatment of disabled children and only has a children’s doctor in attendance three days per week; this makes Little Stars’ provision vital.

The education programme was also refined during the year and a lease taken out on premises to provide a pre-school education for local children who would otherwise not attend school.  The intention is for the school to start in September.  If all goes to plan, the school will have children from the villages there in the mornings and disabled children in the afternoons.  The premises do not need a lot of work to convert them to school use but we will need to buy equipment and find the right staff if the venture is to be successful.  All projects need a time of assessment and reflection and if this school is successful then a second school will be opened in Seul.

A great innovation for Little Stars during the year was the implementation of the sponsorship scheme which grew from an idea of Kit Claxton and his family.  Adopted families remain part of Little Stars general food distribution programme but have meat or poultry added to their food parcels and have clothes and shoes provided for the children.  They are visited every month and their needs regularly assessed.  Since the scheme started more than forty beds and mattresses have been bought to get children off the floor where they are susceptible to pest attacks and skin infections.  Many very basic toilets have also been installed where there were previously no facilities at all and water has been piped into houses that previously had none.  Unfortunately in villages such as Haja Marise there is little that we can do as water is still mainly drawn from a well.

 
Gellabyas SandalsGellabyas

The gellabyas and sandals were bought at low cost and in bright colours as a special treat

Last month, (April) Little Stars distributed the remainder of its stock of summer clothing to the village children.  There were sufficient T shirts for the boys and we had clothing for small children, but we were very short of clothing for girls between the ages of 8 and 16 years old.  We solved this problem in May when we were fortunate to be given two unexpected donations one from a supporter in London and another from a couple in America. This money was put towards the cost of buying a batch of 75 gellabyas in the local souk.  The store keeper knew what they were for and so sold them to us cheaply at a little over £2.50 each.  We deliberately bought attractive ones so that the clothes became a real treat and something that the girls had never had before.  The sheer look of pleasure on the girls’ faces proved that it was a wise decision.  At the same time the sandals bought from a donation by Glynys Hobley were distributed to the great delight of boys and girls of all ages.    

 

New dressNew dressNew dress
The girls were delighted with their new clothes and there was excited  trilling from their mothers.

 

One of our supporters, Josie Skelton, is a prolific knitter and although she already sponsors two families she also knits clothes for many others.  She and her partner Mike were in Luxor in May and were able to visit the families they have ‘adopted’ accompanied by the Chairman and the Needs Assessor (which complies with Little Stars’ Child Protection Policy).  It was great encouragement to those ‘on the ground’ to have someone observe what they are achieving and to give praise for it.  The children did not know which was more exciting, seeing strangers, having balloons or blowing bubbles.

Josie meets her familyballoons and bubblesballoons

Josie met the family she sponsors and provided balloons and bubbles for the village children.

Another of our family sponsors helps run the 80th Brownie Group at St. Mary’s Church in Portsmouth with members ranging from 6 years to 10 years of age.  The girls got together and decorated a batch of pencil cases for boys and girls in Luxor and then filled them with pencils, rubbers, rulers, pencil sharpeners and all manner of stationery items and a photo of their Brownie Group.  We were delighted to receive them and shall pass them on before the new school year starts in September.  We would like to offer our praise for their magnificent efforts and our thanks to Lynne Weyman for organising it.  From the photos it looks as though they are having as much fun making them as the children will have receiving them. 

 
Brownies from PoertsmouthPencil CasesBrownies from Portsmouth

The 80th Brownie Group in Portsmouth decorated pencil cases for Luxor children.

 

During May, the end of our financial year, the pound made a good recovery and although the exchange rate is still lower than it was at the beginning of the year its rise in value has alleviated the financial burden that the catastrophic fall had caused.  The exchange rate last year hovered between 10.45 and 10.75 Egyptian pounds to one pound sterling but this year it fell at one stage to below 7.00 on the international exchanges.  Fortunately 7.35 was the lowest rate that we obtained.  It is now hovering around 9.00 which is good news for Little Stars although it will mean that imports are again expensive for the Egyptian people.

Inspection of our accounts when they are available will show that we have been building up a fund that we hope to maintain at around £25,000 which we estimate to be the basic annual cost of running one clinic and providing food parcels.  This would not allow us to expand or take on any more projects but would provide running costs for a whole year in an emergency.  Although such an emergency is not expected it is sometimes best to be prepared for all eventualities.  The reason for explaining this is that we need transport so that we can collect children from the villages and take them to school, the clinic and the hospital and also to get round the outer villages with the food parcels. Hiring vehicles is proving expensive.  Technically we already have the funds to buy a second-hand mini bus but this would totally deplete our reserves and so we are once again appealing to you for help.

During 2008-2009 we lost the services of one Trustee but we have now appointed a new Trustee to fill the gap.  A fourth Trustee was not vital as our Governing Documents call for three Trustees but it was desirable to have the widest range of expertise possible in running the charity so we welcome Mrs. Janet Hall to the Board.  Mrs. Hall has extensive experience in education and child welfare as well as being the proprietor of a successful garden centre specialising in growing orchids, Her input will be very valuable and appreciated.  Being a Trustee is a volunteer post and so we are grateful to all the Trustees for the time and effort that they devote to Little Stars.  The Chairman travelled to Luxor on a monthly basis throughout the year to oversee Little Stars’ organisation, largely at her own expense and the Honorary Treasurer visited in February at his own expense to inspect the charity’s work.  Thanks are given for their efforts and to everyone who has supported us throughout the year.

 

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

contact@Little Stars-Luxor.org or admin@LittleStars-Luxor.org


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

 


 

 

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