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Little Stars - Luxor Children's Trust

UK Charity Commission Registration Number 1120536. Egyptian Charity: Luxor Charity No.8 (2010)
 

Newsletter 38/39 - July/August 2010

Archived Newsletter 36/37- May/June 2010

 

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This is another bumper issue as there is a lot to tell you about Little Stars activities during July and August.  In addition to the monthly distribution of food, work on the Training Centre is almost complete, equipment has been bought in Cairo for the workshops, fridges and cooker have been distributed, new homes have been built, new families have been added to our sponsor list, a doctor in children’s health has been appointed at the clinic and we have started supplying prescription spectacles to children with eyesight problems – and all of this has been done on a shoestring. 

As the year progressed, temperatures in Luxor soared and in July hovered above 40ºC.  When you leave a building the heat hits you like a wall and saps you of all strength.  When there are small children and you live without air conditioning, fridges and fans and have no water except that carried from the village well then health is threatened. 

Little Stars distributes food parcels throughout the remote west bank villages and those families who have sponsors receive up to 5 kgs of poultry every month.  This is the only meat that the families are likely to have during the month and receiving it all in one day with no means of preserving it caused immense problems.  There was also the problem of preserving other food items and protecting them from ever present rats.  It takes three days for Little Stars to distribute the parcels and poultry around the various villages and the cost of hiring a vehicle can prove prohibitive so Little Stars is not able to spread the deliveries and can only visit a family once each month.

Happiness is a new fridgeHappiness is your vry first fridgeNew fridges

Another batch of fridges was delivered to sponsored families at the beginning of August. The joy speaks for itself.

 

Earlier in the year a supporter in Luxor, Together with a group of his business associates clubbed together and donated 10 new fridges and a batch of fans for Little Stars to distribute.  This was reported in an earlier newsletter.  Fortunately, during August we were able to distribute another batch of fridges and cookers which were paid for mainly by donations from family sponsors.  The fridges are large and cost around £100 each.  This is not a vast sum in European terms but can represent a whole year’s income to a widow and her family.  The sheer joy showing on the faces of those who received the fridges speaks for itself.  There is still a long way to go as we have many more families with small children who have no means of preserving food and are still cooking on open fires, but we are tackling the problem on a month to month basis.

Following the spring gales, the roofs of many houses were blown away and a house in Nage Birka collapsed leaving a widow and her three small children homeless.  With the help of Little Stars this house was rebuilt, a roof added, solid floors installed and a supply of electricity connected.  During August, windows and internal doors were added.  The family has now settled back into their new home which provides a basic but safer environment for the children than the old house did.

 
Newly rebuilt house The house ownder and two of her three children

Nasser delivers food to the new house. The widowed mother and her children have now settled in.

The gales caused more havoc than was originally estimated and soon another house collapsed destroying what little goods a widow and her two children had.  She took refuge next door where they all sleep on the bare floor.  Little Stars, with immense help from their sponsors, has rebuilt the house, added a roof and is now working on the floors and the electricity supply.  Water will be piped and an external long-drop toilet added as soon as it is feasible.  Then we will begin the process of trying to get her some furniture to replace that destroyed in the collapse.  Through an interpreter she expressed her heart-felt gratitude to all those people who made it possible for her to again have a home again.

 
The walls went upThe roof goes onHomeless

The walls went up and the roof went on.

 

There is another home that we were deeply concerned about in the village of Tariff.  This house has not yet collapsed but it will do with a cough, a sneeze and a light breeze.  The house itself consists of one room leading into the blackness of a three thousand year old Pharaonic tomb where the children sleep.  There is an upper floor but it is too unsafe to be used.  There is no internal sanitation but there is a toilet in the street which is used by many families.  The toilet is against their outer wall and leaks, so it has soaked the base of a mud brick wall beyond repair.  Arrangements have been made to demolish the house and for a new one to be built in its place.  This will take some time and the family will take refuge with neighbours while the work progresses.   We will give you an update on both houses in the next newsletter.

 
Her home is about to fall down This is where the children sleep

The house is about to collapse and will be rebuilt.  The children sleep in a three thousand year old pharaonic tomb

 

At the beginning of the year the new Training Centre was just a cavernous space above the clinic.  It took some imagination to see it as thriving Training Centre where women and girls could learn to read and learn skills that might enable them to lift their families out of poverty.  Now all the Centre lacks is a floor and bathroom fittings.  There are classrooms, toilets with showers, a staff common room, a storage room, an office and a kitchen plus a large open plan teaching area and a balcony.  It is light and airy and will be an excellent place of learning.

 
The space was cavernousThe walls went upwalls go up

From Cavernous space, the walls go up …..

The plasterers move inBuilding progressesBuilding progresses

And the plasterers and carpenters move in.  The ceramic floors are being put in place during August.

 
Equipment has already been bought for the sewing area of the Centre.  Thanks to a wonderful donation from Dr. Diane Johnson we were able to purchase four industrial desk mounted sewing machines, 2 portable zig-zag machines and 2 old style Singer (clone) machines in Cairo.  As we intend to have small classes these should fulfil our needs.  We already have a large white board for notes and a large table which will be used for cutting out material.  Hard bargaining allowed us to buy the ‘Singer’ type machines, which have a strapped on motor, for around £35 GBP.  This means that we should be able to provide each woman who finishes the sewing course with a machine and all the bits and pieces need to set up a small village enterprise.  Funding is already in place for fully equipping the literacy area with desks, chairs and books, etc. This was funded by the St. James Place Trust.  Work should be completed and the Training Centre functioning in the very near future.
 
Sewing machinesSewing machines

The sewing machines for the Training Centre were bought in Cairo

 

Little Stars received Egyptian Social Services approval and Egyptian registration early this year and the clinic and the accounts have just had their first major inspection.  We are delighted to announce that Little Stars passed all the applied criteria with flying colours and were congratulated on what we have achieved. They were particularly pleased that we now have doctors for all three surgeries, started to offer the services of an optician and will provide free prescription glasses. The clinic now has signs in Arabic as well as English which makes it much easier for the local population to find us and see what services we offer.

 
Signage for the clinicSignage for the clinicSignage for the clinic

New signs at the clinic are in Arabic as well as English.

 

A second teacher and an assistant teacher have been appointed for the nursery school, making a staff of three to care for thirty children.  Uniforms are on order and the children, who all come from very poor families, will be given free new uniforms.  We will not be in a position to provide each child with a lunch that has been prepared on the premises until the kitchen in the Training Centre has been completed but arrangements are being made for a local restaurant to provide a child size portion of nourishing food each day.  

Safety has been an area of concern over the last few months.  During the summer months and a rush of wedding celebrations the services of travelling fairs have been used a lot in the villages.  As there are virtually no playing areas for children in the villages, this is very exciting to the children and they love them.  Unfortunately there is very little regard for safety.  The photos shown below go some way towards showing just how dangerous they are still while showing just how much they are enjoyed.  We are not wishing to stop these fairs but we would like to be able, when funds allow, to open play areas where children can play on swings and enjoy themselves without so must risk to life and limb.

 

Travelling fairTravelling fair

Child safety in the travelling fairs has become a great concern

 

We are hoping to equip an IT area in the Training Centre where young people can be taught IT skills.  If you have a laptop that is still serviceable but is no longer fast enough for your needs please consider taking it out to Luxor with you when you go there on holiday.  It might end up mouldering in your loft whereas it can give someone a real start in life if we can use it in the Centre.

New families have been added to our lists and although most of them have already found sponsors there are still one or two families who would benefit from additional help.  If you wish to sponsor a family then please contact us.

Village childrenVillage ChildrenVillage Family
 
We know that it is very early to talk about Christmas but ....... To raise extra funds for Little Stars projects, we have some lovely silver pendants for sale that would make super Christmas Gifts. They are of Nefertiti, Tutankhamun and Ramses and will be delivered in their own lined brocade drawstring bags. We will tell you more about them and upload photos in our next newsletter.
 
Thank you for your support.
 

 


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

 


 

 

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