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Little Stars - Luxor Children's Trust

UK Charity Commission Registration Number 1120536
 

Newsletter 33 - February 2010

Archived Newsletter 31/32- December 2009/January 2010

The latest catastrophic fall in the value of the British pound has again hit us very hard but your generosity has meant that donations are still covering our expenditure on health, education and poverty relief.  The pound has fallen to as low as 7.30 le on the UK market and is hovering around 8 in Luxor.  Hopefully the situation will improve after the election whatever the result. 

There have been some big changes in the clinic with the installation of the dental equipment and the start of work on the Training Centre for women above the clinic.  Creating the dental surgery meant tearing up and relaying the floor tiles, rewiring the room, plumbing in water and drains and redecorating but the results are wonderful and we believe that it will be well used. Initially the surgery will be open three days per week with a local dentist in charge.  He is young and enthusiastic and hopefully he will be able to accompany us when we visit the villages and will keep a check on the teeth of all the children in our sponsorship scheme as well as local children who attend the clinic.  The dental surgery is being officially opened by the British Ambassador to Egypt Sir Dominic Asquith on the 22nd March 2010.

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Dental EquipmentDental SurgeryDental Surgery

.From wooden crates to modern dental surgery
 
The new Training CentreThe new TRaining CentreTraining Centre
From bare walls to a Training Centre
 
A five-year lease has been taken out on two flats directly above the clinic which gives Little Stars a large space for a Training Centre for women, a large kitchen where meals can be cooked for children attending the Hadana and for some workshops...  The design is being kept very simple and is largely open plan but the necessary dividing walls will be erected in March.  The initial work is being financed with a donation from Lynne Weyman who visited the clinic in January and is being supported also with a donation from the Countess of Carnarvon who will be visiting the clinic again later in the year.  A further £1,000 was given by visitors to Luxor through Peter Allingham of Ancient World Tours.  Peter has a Little Stars page on Just Giving and we are very grateful for all his fund raising efforts. 

We have had some changes in the charity’s administration since the beginning of the year and we are delighted to welcome the Countess of Carnarvon as a patron.  We now have both the Earl of Carnarvon and Countess Carnarvon as patrons and are looking forward to their proposed visit to Luxor later in the year.  We would also like to welcome Monaghan Tindale as a Trustee.  We now have five UK Trustees giving us a wide range of ideas and experiences from which Little Stars will gain.

In January, two donations specific to the repair of houses were given to us by Lynne Weyman who is one of our family sponsors.  One donation was used to upgrade the home of the family she sponsored and the other was to be used at our discretion.  We chose to use it on the extra donation on the home of one of our worst cases which happened to be a family sponsored by her daughter Sarah.  Lynne came to Luxor in January on holiday with her daughters who also sponsor families and they were able to meet all the families concerned.  At the time the work had only just begun and they were not able to see the outcome but she kindly wrote a report of her experiences in Luxor.  Since then we have received similar donations for the upgrade of houses from Barry Ross and Mr and Mrs Cox who are also family sponsors and we shall give an update of the progress on those houses in our next newsletter.

 
Lynne Weyman with the familt she sponsors

Lynne with her sponsored family.

 

“We finally had our long awaited visit to Luxor in January (in fact it almost didn’t happen due to the snow!) My daughters Sarah and Jenna and I all sponsor families and we were fortunate enough to be able to visit them as Connie Tindale was in Egypt at the time and was able to accompany us.

We firstly visited the Clinic which was busy with mums and their children. We were very pleased to see that work on the new Hadana is progressing well and the equipment for the Dental Surgery and the large toys/equipment for the Hadana had arrived from Cairo.  We could not resist a peer into the boxes!
We also had a look around upstairs at the proposed area for the Women’s Training School.  It is an ideal space and when it is eventually up and running will offer much needed skills training to the women and older girls.  There is a long way to go and the walls need to be plastered and electrics installed first but it is hoped that work will start on this soon.

Then came a very “hair raising” ride in the hired vehicle.... no seat belts and no back door – I am amazed how Connie copes with  this each month surrounded by the foods parcels and chickens ! Hopefully it won’t be too long before the purchase of a new safer more comfortable vehicle is possible.

My Sponsor family and Jenna’s family live in Nage Birka and we were able to meet them and give small gifts. Although accommodation is very basic with Little Stars help the children are now well dressed and have adequate food.  My family had a large pile of sand in their front room as they were having a new floor and a toilet was being installed in the yard! They also have a new roof.  Communication was difficult due to the language difference, but a smile says it all – and they had lots of smiles for us!
Sarah’s family live in Haja Marise and we were shocked to see the conditions that some families are living in. Living conditions are dire and there is just a well in the centre of the compound for water and one communal toilet for a large number of families.  Work was taking place on Sarah’s family’s house and they now have a new roof and floor. An individual toilet was not possible as there is no water supply other than the well. The baby of the family is now thriving due to milk formula supplied by Little Stars. Abdul was given the job of giving out the small gifts we had taken along for the village children and he was soon surrounded by many eager little hands!

Connie had reassured us that it “never rains in Luxor”, however while we were there one night there was a terrific storm- the roof repairs carried out by Little Stars must have made a big difference to some families that night!

I’m pleased we had the opportunity to meet the Luxor “team” and see first hand the wonderful work that Little Stars and its dedicated workers and supporters are doing.  

Lynne Weyman – January 2010 “

 

Before renovationThe new toiletThe newly decorated house

The home at Nage Birka.  (1) The yard before and (2) after installation of the toilet. (3)  The newly decorated house.

 

The work on the houses has been completed since Lynne’s visit and a full report of the progress can be seen on our website.  The first repairs undertaken were to the roofs to make them weather-proof.  The torrential rain that Lynne experienced during her stay caused complete havoc to the few belongings of those families whose roofs still have big holes in them.  The next thing was to put in solid floors to cover the packed mud that turns to a slippery mess whenever it gets wet.  In one home we were able to install a toilet but it was impossible in the home in Haja Marise.  Instead, at Haja Marise the money was used to extend the house and create a porch area which was safer for cooking.  Electricity was made safe in both homes and they were then redecorated.  The total cost for each home was approximately £200.  It is amazing how far funds can be stretched with the use of local materials and labour and of recycled materials where available.   The brand new cookers that we have bought for sponsored families will be delivered in March.

 
Before renovationOutside the added porchThe newly decorated house

The family home in Haja Marise- (1) Before the renovation. (2) Outside the new porch (3) The redecorated home

 

Fund raising is not easy for small charities like Little Stars and we are grateful for all donations no matter how large or small and we would like to thank several people for their sterling efforts to raise funds for Little Stars’ projects.  Barry Ross has been working hard to try and secure funding for the new Training Centre from a variety of sources and is keeping an eye on the Lottery Overseas Grants Scheme that might be brought into being later this year. We applied (unsuccessfully) to the last Lottery Overseas scheme for financing of the clinic which fortunately we were able to complete without Lottery help but they may be able to help with support some of our other schemes such as the proposed drop-in centre for street children.    

We have been registered with Easy Fund Raising and with Just Giving for some time but now we are registered with Mission Fish which is the charity arm of EBay.  If you are an EBay seller then it is now possible to donate part of the proceeds of any sale directly to Little Stars as your nominated charity. 

We do not usually advertise commercial ventures but the latest offering from Virgin Finance seems to be designed to help all charities.  Virgin has introduced a charity credit card with a difference as the owner of the card can designate which charity is to be supported through a particular card.  Big charities often have their own credit cards but this is not really a fund raising option for small charities until now.  Little Stars will register with Virgin so that we can become one of the charities taking part in this scheme.

In June of last year Little Stars completed an application form for our little group of dedicated fund raisers (who wish to remain anonymous) to be allowed to collect funds at Royal Ascot.  There were thirteen applications for five places and the successful applicants were to be selected by a draw held in the Mayor’s Parlour in Windsor in mid-February.  The odds were against us getting a place but we were very lucky and have permission to collect funds on the Friday of Ascot week.  We would like to thank everyone at the Royal Borough of Windsor for all their help.  We would also like to thank the staff of South West Trains for their help in allowing our collectors access to the forecourts of several railway stations during their busy times.

 
 
 
Thank you for your support.
 

 


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

 


 

 

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