UK Charity Commission Registration Number 1120536
April saw the end of the cold weather in Luxor as temperatures soared above 35 degrees Centigrade which is more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. When the sun is as blistering as this it is hard to remember the long cold nights of a desert winter.
We are pleased to report that Little Stars was approved and registered with Charity Check during April. Charity Check is an independent organisation that investigates charities by taking up references on their validity. Many other charitable organisations and local councils consult Charity Check in order to ascertain a charity’s credibility before offering them help and we were delighted to have received their registration as a bone fide organisation.
Another fifty kilos of good quality children’s clothes were brought to Luxor during the month and, as they are mainly winter clothes, they will be stored until the cold weather approaches. This year we will be prepared and have a stock of warm clothes and blankets ready to distribute much earlier than we did last year. The amount of clothes we now have and the food items that we want to buy to provide food parcels for those who are destitute but are not entitled to parcels that we buy through the Egyptian Food Bank, has meant that we now have to look for a ground-floor lock-up that we can use for storage and as a distribution centre on the East Bank. Hopefully we will find something in central Luxor that will fulfil our needs at not too great a financial cost.
At long last, with the help of Egypt Air, our consignment of football boots reached Luxor. However, it was only with the help of Karnak Charity Society that we managed to get them through customs. Even the Governor Dr. Samir Farag was unable to help us get them released from bondage. At one point it looked as though the boots would have to be returned to the UK but then Karnak Charity Society assumed responsibility for them and managed to get them released. The boots were then moved to storage ready to be donated to the youth of Luxor by Dr Farag who we are hoping will also be able to help us obtain the licenses we will need to open the new clinic on the West Bank. We cannot thank Dr. Farag, Egypt Air, Suffolk Trading Standards and Karnak Charity Hospital sufficiently for all the help that they have given us.
Our supporters’ base is growing daily. Kit Claxton from London has offered to run a half-marathon for Little Stars in October. Kit is visiting Luxor later this year and wanted to do something for the children who are in such need of help. We are sending him some sponsorship forms and would be grateful for your support for him in this wonderful gesture. Also, a group of supporters in Ireland are bringing much needed children’s clothing to Luxor in June. They have our gratitude. Hopefully we will have our East Bank storage space available by then and will be able to hang the clothes from racks rather than stuffing them into plastic bags.
Several visits were paid to the Good Samaritan Home
during the month and a large donation of food items including chickens,
fruit, vegetables and sweets, was made by visiting supporters who also
requested that new wheelchairs be bought to replace the existing ones
which were is a state of disrepair. The Coptic Easter is much later in
Egypt than it is in Europe and the food items were used at the Easter
celebrations to which the visitors were invited.
The new teachers were working hard at the Good Samaritan School and were using innovative methods of teaching the children there how to look after themselves. Puppets were used very effectively to demonstrate the dangers of eating food items that are found on the floor. The puppet show was eagerly received and all the children had an active and positive response. Older children were being taught simple skills, such as threading beads for necklaces, by which they might later be able to earn a living, and older girls were being taught how to cook the soup that they were all to eat for lunch.
At present the school runs for three days per week but the manager of the School is hoping that funding will be found to open the school five days per week. This might involve the purchase of a mini-bus as the cost of transport is prohibitive. The purchase of mini-buses for deserving projects was one of our first aims and we shall investigate the cost and consider how we can help.
Renovation of some of the worst housing in La Galta is continuing and the installation of doors and windows that were much needed in a house that was home to a family of nine people in two rooms has now been completed. The next project to be undertaken is the completion of an enclosed toilet which is at present in an open yard in full view of neighbouring houses. Bricks have already been bought and soon the toilet will have a surrounding wall. With some other houses it is impossible for us to install toilets until the house has some sort of running water supply.
With the world-wide rising cost of food, poverty in Egypt is growing rather than diminishing and the provision of food parcels from the Egyptian Food Bank is vital. Even with the food parcels many families still spend too many days living only on bread and tea. In these circumstances, children cannot thrive. For those that are not on the Egyptian Food Bank list, life is even harder. Little Stars is still paying for 200 food parcels per month through the Footsteps of Mohammed Association and hope that soon we will be able to help those who have slipped through the very inadequate net.
The position of Manager of the West Bank clinic, which we had advertised on our Blog site, was filled by the promotion of a female assistant who had been with the project for several years. This promotion has been welcomed by all and we hope that the new manager will be filled with enthusiasm for her post and will encourage more children to attend the clinic.
The need for a new clinic on the West Bank is becoming increasingly evident and in April we completed an application to the Lottery Commission for a five-year funding of running costs. We believe that we will be able to equip the centre and buy a mini bus without Lottery Commission help but their assistance with the running costs of the new centre will bring the project much closer to reality and ensure its success and continuation over a period of time. At the end of the five years the project should be enlarged and self-sustaining. Please think positive thoughts for the success of this application. If it is successful it will provide health care for chronically sick and disabled children: will have a distribution centre for food and clothing; and will provide employment for local men and women.
Our thanks are offered to Enom and to Streamline.net for their help in restoring our old websites. Enom supplied us with a new sign-on and password which enabled us to unlock the previously locked sites so that Streamline could transfer them to a hosting space where we could have access. We are extremely grateful to them as we believed that these sites had been permanently lost. Our present site has been working well and it seems like over-kill to restore the old sites but it means that the old links that were on many travel and Egypt related sites now work again and so we can reach many more people.
Our growth over the last six months has made it clear that Little Stars needs a full-time Administrator in Luxor to run the east bank disribution centre, make day-to-day decisions and keep records of donated items and beneficiaries. This will be a demanding but an interesting and rewarding position for anyone who is interested in helping others.
Back copies of all our newsletters are available by post if you send a large stamped addressed envelope to our registered office. Back copies can be emailed to you, and any queries answered, through