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Little Stars - Luxor Children's Trust

UK Charity Commission Registration Number 1120536

Newsletter 27 - August 2009

Archived Newsletter - July 2009

August in Luxor was as hot as July but was harder to cope with due to the effects of Ramadan.  With the Ramadan fasting, our staff worked attending to children and delivering food parcels in the intense heat of the day without any water or food but despite their tiredness due to dehydration they did an excellent job. In addition, all banks, government offices and most businesses either close very early or open very late during Ramadan which led to operational and delivery difficulties. 

Donations in August were approximately £7,000 which exceeded our costs by several thousand pounds and meant that we could add money to our vehicle fund and start on another round of repairs to houses.  The repairs are mainly simple low cost projects such as replacing roof beams, (£10) installing fans (£15), providing beds with mattresses (£25) and providing water where possible (£30).  Families are being added to our sponsorship list all the time and extra sponsors are still desperately needed. 

Funds totalling more than three hundred and fifty pounds were raised by a nine year old boy called Benji who is a pupil at Thorverton CE Primary School in Devon.  Benji had been on holiday to Egypt during the school holidays and was so distressed at the poverty he saw that he decided to do something about it.  This is what he wrote for Little Stars.  “On my holiday to Egypt I saw many children living in very small houses who sometimes did not have shoes. In Cairo, I also saw people taking things out of the rubbish skips. This made me feel upset and I decided to start raising money to help the children in Egypt. I did a 22 mile sponsored cycle ride with my sister and her friend, I also sold plants and organized a non- school uniform day and a toy sale. I hope that this money will help the poor people in Egypt, and buy what ever they need.” 


Thorverton ClassroomBenjiBenji's family

........... A classroom in Thorverton Primary - Benji’s School.             ............        Benji.         ............................                  Benji with his bike and his family

Benji deserves a dozen gold stars because cycling 22 miles as a nine-year old is an incredible feat and we cannot thank Benji, his family, Tania Beard the Headmistress or the whole Thorverton School community, enough for all that they have done.  The School has also adopted Little Stars as the recipients of the funds they raise with their Christmas Nativity events and we can assure the children that every penny will be put to good use.  Benji’s family and his school can be very proud of his achievement.  Benji’s funds will be put towards the care of children and the purchase of equipment for the new school.

We have two more new babies, both girls, and clothes have already been given to them but we are buying two ‘baby beds’ to protect them from mosquitoes.  Our recent visit to one of the mothers came at a vital time in the baby’s life.  The mother was desperate as her milk had completely stopped and she could no longer feed it.  Without help the baby would have died through malnutrition.  Baby milk is subsidised in Egypt but it still has to be bought and the mother was without income.  Little Stars will provide milk for this baby while it is needed and will keep an emergency stock of baby milk in the clinic.  Malnutrition is very different from starvation and there is little starvation in Egypt as there is access to subsidised bread but children do not thrive and grow by eating bread alone, they need much more.  The food parcels and the extra protein are vital to their health.


Baby OneNew BabyNew Baby in need of help

Our two new babies with their mothers

The above photos show the new baby girls and their mothers in Haja Marise.  The middle photo is of the desperate mother, who is then shown again with her other children.  The little smiling girl on the right of the first photo is the one who was taken to the hospital last month with a severe skin infection.  Inspection of her back, face and feet showed that the infection had been cleared and cross infection to the new baby was now not a concern.  This month we had another hospital case but this time it was a family father who had a cut on his hand which had become so infected that it was turning black.  If this is not treated he will never ever be in a position to care for his family so arrangements were made to take him to the hospital


New FamilyVillage WellCollecting Cards

                 A new family.        ................................................                          The Village Well. ,    .....................      Our Manager collecting the cards for sponsors

The odd ‘lampshade’ in the foreground of the photo of the new family shown above (far left) is actually a hanging wire cage where any meat they have can be protected from rats.  It was completely empty when we called as they had nothing to put in it.  This family is in need of a sponsor.  The middle photo is of the village well which is very very deep but of questionable purity.  There are very few homes in the village that have a water supply so virtually all water is drawn from this well and its sheer depth makes hauling the water up hard work.  Collecting the cards with drawings which will be sent to their sponsors was a hard task for our Manager as he had to record where each card had come from and there had been a problem with the drawing implements.  The children had been given a mixture of coloured pencils and crayons but, much to their disappointment, the crayons just would not work on the shiny paper of the cards.  We shall learn from the mistake and give out less shiny cards in future or give out felt tip pens with which to draw.  We hope that our sponsors will understand if the card they receive has a faint blur on it rather than a clear picture.  It was not through the children’s want of trying.


Front of new HadanaClassroom AreaExtra Room

We now have possession of the premises for the new Hadana which was once a supermarket

The early closure of Government Offices during Ramadan also delayed the license for the new Nursery School (Hadana).  A decision had to be made over whether we delayed starting work on the Hadana until the license was complete or whether we completed the work anyway and opened the Hadana as soon as we had the paperwork to hand.  We decided not to waste time and to start getting the Hadana ready as soon as we could as we now have full possession of the premises.

The premises, which were used as a supermarket, has a double front with steps leaving to an ‘open’ area with a second set of security doors, behind which is a very large room that will serve as a classroom.  Behind this room is another large room which will be used as an activity area.  There is also a toilet with shower and wash basin.  As the premises have already been plastered, wired and tiled, we only have to redecorate and replace the signs to make them usable.  However, we are putting up extra iron railings to protect the children from falling down the steps and from straying near the road.   We are retaining a lot of shelving that has been left in place so that we can store pens pencils and books but one wall will be cleared so that children’s work can be displayed.

Plans were made to distribute new clothing to our sponsored families ready for the Eid festival at the end of Ramadan but delivery of gelabyyas to Luxor had stopped due to reduced working hours and we were unable to get any to fit girls in their early teens.  Another decision had to be made, this time over whether we went ahead and gave out the clothes we had or delayed distribution until we had the stocks we needed.  It would be heartbreaking to see the disappointment of the children left with nothing so we chose to delay distributing the clothes until we had new clothing for everyone.  We have been assured that the clothes will be ready for next month.  Delivery of 200 pairs of sandals has also been promised and these will be distributed along with the clothes.

To compensate, we bought one hundred kilos of dates and split them between our families who were delighted to receive them.  A kilo of dates in Europe would be expensive but in Egypt the cost was £0.40 per kilo and they provide excellent nourishment.  However, when you only have a monthly income of less than £10.00 per month to feed and clothe the whole family, £0.40 can seem an enormous amount.  A further 100 kilos of fresh dates have been ordered from a local grower, from whom we might buy further fruit and vegetables in the future, which will be distributed next month.


Good SamaritansGood SamaritansPlay Area

The renovations at the Good Samaritan Home are progressing and a dark corridor is now a new kitchen

The renovations taking place at the Good Samaritan Home are still proceeding and the corridor which was going to be laundry has instead now been made into a bright kitchen with tiled walls and floor.  The outside area where the children play has been cleared and has had some seating added.  There is some play equipment there but they still need new items.  However, their most desperate need is now the same as ours.  They need transport so that they can collect children and take them to their school or take them to Cairo for specialist treatment.  Little Stars will help with the funding of this as soon as we are in a position to have transport of our own.  In the meantime, we shall continue to give the Home a monthly allowance to pay for its medical costs, its teachers and half the cost of hiring transport.

We would like to thank Thomson Fly for the charity baggage allowances that they have so graciously allowed us recently. They have been granting us a 10 kg extra baggage allowance per booking. This is the maximum that they can give. They advised us that if several people are travelling together then it would be better if it was done as several bookings rather than just one large booking as then 10 kg could be given for each one. However, a lot of clothes can be squeezed into 10 kgs and we are immensely grateful for their support.

Thank you for your support.


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




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