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Little Stars - Luxor Children's Trust

UK Charity Commission Registration Number 1120536

Newsletter 26 - July 2009

Archived Newsletter - June 2009

July was a very busy month for Little Stars and the temperature in Luxor soared to above 45C.  Travelling around the villages in the back of the van was a hard task when the temperature inside the vehicle rose to more than 50C.  In spite of the heat, food parcels were delivered, new families were met and considered for sponsorship and children were taken to the hospital and the clinic. 


Toyota Double CabThe vehicle we hire

The vehicle we would like to buy and the vehicle we now rent which has no seat belts or rear door.

It has made the need for a suitable vehicle even more pressing.  We have considered the tasks that the vehicle has to perform and the terrain it has to cover, and believe that a Toyota Double Cab would be ideal.  Driver and helper could go in the front seat, children in the back seat and food parcels and wheelchairs would sit on the back of the vehicle outside of the cab.  At present there is little room in the back of the van when the food parcels are loaded and there are no seat belts or a rear door to stop people falling out if there is a sudden stop.  Also, the cost of renting a vehicle is becoming prohibitive as our needs increase.  We already have 25% of the funding needed to buy the new vehicle and with your help and generosity we hope to have sufficient funds to buy it soon.

New FamiliesNew familiesNew families

New families added to our sponsorship list.

Our sponsorship scheme is still growing and seven more families were added to our sponsorship list during the month.  Not all of them are the families of widows.  We are now seeing the results of young women being married off to very elderly men who then quickly produce children that, due to strokes and infirmity, they are soon unable to provide for.  Village women often have very little choice in the matter of who they marry and it is not their fault that they are left destitute with an ailing husband to care for in addition to their children.  We are not discriminating and if the children are suffering then they are added to our list.  Please consider sponsoring one of these families.

We altered the amount of food that was given to our sponsored families during the month.  Each family had been receiving 1 kg of flour, 1kg beans, 1kg sugar, 1 kg macaroni, 1 kg rice, 1 jar tomato paste, 1 litre cooking oil, tea, salt, stock cubes and soap.  Every family had been given one parcel regardless of the number of children in the family. In addition to the food parcel every sponsored family received half a kilogram of poultry for each child. During July, the content of food parcels was kept the same except that the amount of flour was increased to 5 kgs.  The main change was in the number of parcels a family was given.  The meat ration has not changed but a family with up to four children received one parcel and those with five children and above received two parcels.  This gives a family up to 10kgs of flour for bread making and should make a difference to the health of the children.  Although we do not distribute money, it has the effect of more than doubling the family’s income. 


Children in our clinicChild receiving TENS treatmentChildren using standing frames

Children in the clinic using the standing frames and receiving TENS treatment.

During the month we were also able to replace and add equipment to the west bank clinic.  Ultra-sonic massagers have been added to the TENS machines for the muscle treatment and the relief of pain and an extra ten sit-upon walking frames were bought.  These are not just for the clinic; they will be given to children to take to their homes so that they can use them all the time to strengthen their legs instead of only being able to use them in the clinic.  Wonderful results have already been achieved with the simple use of these small pieces of equipment.  The cost is around £25 per frame including shipment from Cairo which is a small price to pay if it means that a child may walk when hope of mobility had been abandoned.  Wheelchairs were also distributed this month and a new stock will be ordered next month.


Clothes ready for distributionClothes ready for distributionClothes waiting for sorting

The stock of clothes in the centre is now building up for the winter.  Items waiting to be sorted.

The stock of children’s clothes held by Little Stars was severely depleted during the summer but has now begun to grow again.  Due to the recession, there has been a sharp fall in the number of overseas visitors to Luxor and this has decreased the amount of clothing that has been donated to us.  However, we have been able to build up our stock of coats ready for the winter even though with temperatures above 40C, winter seems a long way off.   

Ramadan arrives in August this year and it is a time for fasting during daylight hours in Egypt. At the end of Ramadan there is an Eid festival.  Traditionally children are given new clothes at this time but in poor families that is not possible.  There are now more than 175 children in Little Stars’ sponsored families but we are aiming to give each child a new set of clothes in September ready for Eid.  Seventy boys’ gelabyyas have already been bought in Cairo and taken down to Luxor.  When buying them, there was the usual bartering procedure with the stall holder and the price came down from £5.00 each to £1.50 but when the he learned what the gelabyyas were needed for he voluntarily gave us a big discount which took the smaller sizes down to around £1.00 each.   Girls’ gelabyyas similar to those bought a few months ago have already been ordered. School bags will also be bought and distributed ready for the beginning of the school year.


New shelves for mini marketNew homeNew walls

Shelves are in the new mini market and waiting to be stocked. Walls are up for a new home. A toilet is added to an older one.

The process of renovating homes continued throughout June.  Bricks were bought, walls erected, roofs mended and new toilets added to homes where they had been none before.  There is still much to be done but we are only improving the basic facilities in each home and not providing ‘luxuries’.  We get many requests for fridges, which is only natural when you consider the intense heat, but they are expensive and we have so far declined all these requests and concentrated on providing beds and improving the structure of houses rather than furnishings.  Although seeing cooking done inside on an open fire while children are running about is very alarming, there is little that we can do about it until we can buy some simple second-hand cookers. 

Needs Assessor with a disabled boyHappiness is a new wheelchairA disabled child from a new family

Our Needs Assessor with a disabled boy.  ..................      Happiness is a new wheelchair         ......................     A boy from a newly added family.

This month we have taken three children to the hospital.  One was a return visit for little girl who had a severe skin infection.  The infection had previously covered her body and spread to her face but treatment had cleared this.  However, there was still a major problem with her feet.  She was brought to the clinic for bathing and then taken to see a doctor.  Another patient collected and taken to the hospital was a baby who had a skin infection under her chin, probably caused by severely infected mosquito bites.  Public transport is almost non-existent in the outer villages and mothers could have to walk miles carrying a sick child to reach a main road where there might be a service car to take them to Qurna hospital.  When we have our own vehicle we will be able to pick children up and take them to clinic or the hospital when required rather than when we can afford to rent a vehicle to collect them.

Distribution of coloured pencils and cardsDistribution of coloured pencils and cardsDistribution of coloured pencils and cards

Village children eagerly collect their Greeting Card, coloured pencils and pencil sharpeners.

This month all children in the sponsorship scheme were given coloured pencils, a pencil sharpener and a card on which they can either write or draw a picture for their sponsor.  It caused great excitement in the villages as children collected their cards and proudly marched off with them.  Retrieving the cards and keeping track of which child wrote what to whom is not going to be easy but we will do our best to ensure that all sponsors get feedback from their families.  The cards will be sent out in the Autumn hopefully together with a DVD showing Little Stars’ work.

Thank you for your support.


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




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