UK Charity Commission Registration Number 1120536
When working overseas it is vital that the culture of the country is taken into consideration before projects are implemented. Only with local input of what is needed can they be successful. Consequently, we are pleased to add three Egyptian Luxor residents to our team. First is Aamer Ibrahim who is now our official interpreter and the other two are doctors who advise us about the clinics we support and on the treatment of the children who apply to Little Stars for help.
Dr. Mohammed Osman is going to Cairo on behalf of Little Stars in January to revisit the University where he trained and to prepare a report on Cairo’s large physiotherapy clinics so that he can learn about the latest developments in the treatment of children with cerebral palsy. This could lead to the purchase of new equipment for the clinics at Karnak and at Seul.
While in Cairo Dr. Mohammed will submit a medical report on a child called Ahmed (not his real name) who has a thyroid problem. The boy is only twelve years old but weighs close to 20 stones and this has caused severe deformation of his legs which now need an operation to straighten them. Ahmed cannot have the operation until he loses weight and he cannot lose weight until his thyroid problem is solved. It is a vicious circle. We do not know yet whether we can find someone to cure Ahmed’s problem, but we have been able to make his life easier by buying him proper crutches to replace the curtain poles that he was using. We have received many other requests for assistance and will report on these in future newsletter issues.
Our Karnak clinic is inside Karnak Charity Hospital and there is a children’s nursery school above it. There is a large playroom attached to the nursery but the room is almost without play equipment. One of our volunteers in Luxor, who has wide experience of nursery school provision, is taking this project under her wing and will help design a child size kitchen and workshop areas where the children can develop their motor skills and learn to socialise. Little Stars will provide the funding for the project but the nursery school will be totally run by Karnak Society.
Restoration work on the West Bank clinic is still progressing. The wheelchairs got to where they were needed most and back-supports and leg braces were added to their equipment. We are hoping to add a ‘soft room’ where the children can play safely and are trying to find a supplier of swings that could be adapted for disabled use and could be put in the clinic garden.
Another great boom in December was the donation of 150 pairs of football boots which with the permission of Adidas and the UK Trading Standards Authority will be given to children in Luxor. Hopefully we can equip several football teams as well as individuals in the outer villages. Now we need your help in finding someone who will help us transport these boots to Luxor. We are approaching all the big transport companies to seek their help but would appreciate any information that you could give us about this.
Our programme of providing food parcels for some of the remote villages stalled slightly when the Footsteps of Mohammed Association were unable to buy sufficient bags of food from the Egyptian Food Bank due to a cut in official subsidies. Little Stars has overcome this problem by buying the food from a local supplier and making up the food parcels ourselves. This has increased the cost of the provision but, due to your generosity, we have sufficient funds to cover the extra outlay. In January, a blanket to combat the cold weather, and children’s clothing if needed, will be offered with each food parcel.
Children’s clothing and shoes have been donated by our supporters and brought out to Egypt by visitors. Should you have any children’s clothing that you could bring to Luxor for us on your next visit then please let us know and we will try and get you an extra baggage allowance. The airlines have been wonderful in their support and we would particularly like to thank First Choice for the help that they gave us during December.
Our programme of paying school fees to ensure a child’s education is also progressing. To date all fees paid have been for boys. This seemed wise at first as in Egypt women seldom work after they are married and men are expected to provide for their families. However, now we are in a position to extend the provision to cover as many girls as boys. If you educate a woman, you educate a family and although it might not be within the present culture, it is vitally important that women are given the same opportunities as men. A recent change in the law outlawing female circumcision has seen a dramatic reduction in the number of girls subjected to this barbaric practice and although FGM has not been totally eradicated as old traditions die hard, the position of girls in society is improving rapidly. Investigations are now being made at several girls’ schools to find the number of girls whose school fees have still to be paid.
During December two of Little Stars trustees visited our patron Lord Carnarvon who is at present very busy with television programmes concerning the Pharaoh Tutankhamun whose tomb was discovered by his great-grandfather and Howard Carter. Lord Carnarvon has his own Egyptian collection at Highclere Castle which is very popular with visitors and school parties. We were grateful that he found the time to see us and thank him for the donation that he made to Little Stars. It will make a difference to the lives of Luxor’s children.
On an administrative note, we have been advised by the Egyptian Security Services who check on all foreign operations in Egypt, that Little Stars has their complete support and good wishes. They confirmed that Little Stars is adhering strictly to the laws in Egypt. We also have reconfirmation of support from the UK Charity Commission to whom we sometimes apply for advice on operating overseas. Little Stars has achieved so much since it started and we know that it will continue to do so.
As we move into January we have a busy time ahead of us but we are looking forward to it with optimism. With your help we can achieve so much. Without you we can do nothing. Please continue to support us. Every penny is put to good use.
Back copies of all our Newsletters can be obtained by sending a large stamped addressed envelope to our registered office or they can be sent by e-mail from contact@LittleStars-Luxor.org