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Little Stars - Luxor Children's Trust

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

Newsletter 36/37 - May/June 2010

Archived Newsletter 34/35- March/April 2010

 

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Welcome to our latest newsletter which is the first one in our fourth year of operation.  Little Stars is all about children so in this edition we have concentrated on showing photos of the children that you help take care of.

The 28th May saw the end of our third year of operation and it has been a very exciting three years during which, thanks to your superb support, more has been achieved than could ever have been imagined.  Little Stars started off with a lot of hope and little else.  Three years later we are able to offer the free services of a fully licensed clinic with three working surgeries, a free Hadana for underprivileged children and we are in the process of completing a Training Centre where village girls and women can learn to read and acquire skills which might lead them into self-sufficiency. 

In addition, thousands of food parcels and chickens have been distributed, children have been provided with clothing and shoes, homes have been upgraded with the addition of basic facilities, roofs have been mended, walls reconstructed and one home completely rebuilt.  Beds, mattresses and blankets have been bought along with cookers and fridges.  This is something that you can all be proud of.  You really have made a major difference to the lives of people who have so little. 

Plans for the coming year are of course dependent on your continued support but we hope to be able to complete the Training Centre, create a playground on land at the rear of the clinic and to buy a Toyota Double Cab or mini-bus so that we are not constantly having to pay to hire transport to reach the villages.

A collapsed house being rebuiltRebuilt house in Nage BirkaHomeless family

The photos above show the progression of a small house that has been rebuilt in Nage Birka.  The house has walls and a roof but still needs electricity and a solid floor.  Funds were left with Nasser our Needs Assessor for this work to be complete and give the three small children and their mother a new home.

 
Dr. Billal, our new dentist now has the surgery running three days per week in the clinic and he has already a long ‘client’ list.  Unfortunately, as the children’s teeth have been neglected his main task has been extraction of decayed teeth.  To counteract this, a dental health education programme is being set up.  Dr Billal graciously gave up his time to spend four days going around all the villages with us when we delivered the food parcels to check on the dental health of all the children.  Children found to have problems were advised to come to the clinic where they would receive free treatment.
 
Dr. Billal Dental Surgery

Dr. Billal leaves the comfort of his new surgery to go around the villages checking on children’s teeth.

The end-of-year accounts have been completed and have been sent to our external examiner for approval, They will be submitted to the Charity Commission and as we have a policy of complete disclosure, they will be uploaded onto our website as soon as approval has been received.    

Despite the recession, donations increased by 22% to approx £74,351.  However, this increase was counteracted by the disastrous fall in the value of the pound which increased all our project costs alarmingly.  We are hoping that the value of the pound will increase in the near future and increase the buying power of your donations.  Expenditure was high at £71,092 because of the devaluation of the pound and because we had so many projects to finance but everything was done within our income and our reserves in the Trust Fund were not touched.  This is prudent ‘housekeeping’.  Our expenses totalled around 10% of donations which means that 90% of every pound you donated went to Luxor and to where it was needed. 

Since we received our Egyptian registration is has been possible to accept donations in Luxor. Non-registered charities are barred from collecting funds.  A group of local businessmen who were aware of our work got together and donated 10 new fridges and 10 new ceiling fans at a cost of around £1,200 sterling.  This was a wonderful gesture and a massive vote of confidence in what we are achieving.

 
A new fridgeA new fridgeA new fridge

The new fridges take pride of place.  This means that the chickens we bring no longer have to all be cooked immediately as they would quickly rot in the heat.  The chickens can now be spread over the month.

 

With no staff in the United Kingdom and everything being done on a volunteer basis, the administration of the charity is sometimes difficult especially now that there are almost sixty families in the sponsorship scheme but we were still able to send out cards at Christmas that had been written on by the children in our care and were able to provide everyone with a family update at Easter.  We shall continue to do our best to keep all sponsors in contact with their families.

Our Fund Raisers have done a magnificent job over the year and have come up with a range of ideas to increase funding.  Our main fund raising organiser (who wishes to remain anonymous) is confined to a wheelchair but still braves all weathers to collect for Little Stars.  It was while she was collecting in Altringham that she met Mr. Georgio Brugnoli who is an Executive Director of the St. James’s Place Foundation.  Their conversation led to Little Stars being given a grant of £1,000 sterling to create a Literacy Area in the new Training Centre.  We cannot thank the Foundation enough for their generosity and shall keep them advised of its progress on a regular basis.  Another great Fund Raiser is Lynn Weyman who not only donated £1,000 sterling in memory of her mother, but donated funds to upgrade two houses and registered with Ebay so that she could sell goods on Little Stars’ behalf. Our family sponsors donated more than £5,000 towards the relief of poverty in the outer villages and we are grateful for their constant support. 

Early in May the two nurses who spent some time with Little Stars last year (Sarah and Dominique), returned to Luxor.  Sarah has now finished her course and is working in a hospital in the UK.  She became a family sponsor and was able to visit her family in Haja Marise. 

 
Items for the childrenSarah and DominiqueNew arrival

Sarah brought out a wide variety of items for her family that were light and easy to transport. Sarah meets our newest arrival

 

During their visit they wrote the following report:-

As student nurses in our final year, we decided to come to Luxor last year to work with Little Stars as part of an elective placement.  Connie made us feel very welcome and took us to the villages to see how the children live.  The look on the children’s faces as we gave them sweets, clothes and food was enough for us to want to come back and visit again this year.  I had also begun to sponsor a family and this year we were able to meet them.  The young Mum has eight children to whom we gave sweets, balloons, stickers, bubbles, clothes, shoes, photos of where we live.  We spent a good hour playing with the children.  We also visited other families on another day to hand out clothes.  It always amazes us how hard Connie has to work to get anything done there and she copes alone and in the heat.  (It was 58C in the sun one day and it was not even summer yet).  We also had a look around the clinic and the nursery, it was nice to see how these had progressed since last year and we are looking forward to seeing the Training Centre when it is finished.  I hope that more people reading this will support the charity”.  Sarah Cowtan – May 2010.

 

The familyBalloonsBubbles

Sarah and Dominique visited Sarah’s sponsored family.  Balloons and bubbles were loved by all.

 

Sarah and Dominique also came out in the van to help the Chairman deliver new clothes to Haja Marise.  Taking the clothes to the villages is easy; getting the right clothes to fit a particular child is very hard.  We tried sorting all the clothes into bags in the distribution Centre where they were stored but once on the road the bags were quickly emptied into heaps as the article being looked for was always at the bottom of the bag.  Over 100 children received new clothes that day and more clothing will be taken to Tarif and Nage Birka next month.  All the children will have new clothes and shoes during Eid in September. 

 
New clothesNew CothesNew clothesNew clothes

Matching clothes with children is not an easy task

 

The children are equally interested in the small packets of sweets that we bring with us in the van.  Giving out packets of sweets to sponsored families is routine as we know how many children are in each family but a system had to be devised for distributing sweets fairly to other children in the village to ensure that the littlest children do not miss out.  Children now have fun and laughter lining up in long crocodile fashion to collect their sweets.  Mums are not beyond joining the queue to have a packet of their own too. 

 
Sweets in handFrom the vanChildren waiting for their sweets

 

Waiting for sweetsNew ClothesBig smilesNew clothes

New clothes and sweets bring smiles to all the children’s faces.

During the year Little Stars continued its support for the Good Samaritan Home and in addition to giving them a monthly donation to cover their medical costs and to pay for extra teachers for their school, we were able to give them high powered lenses to help with their programme of assistance to visually impaired people in Luxor.  We were given a large batch of these lenses by a Welsh group called Vision Support.  We were wondering how we would get them to Luxor in bulk rather than a few at a time but then discovered the Post Office has a scheme whereby Articles for the Blind can be posted anywhere in the world free of charge.  We shall take advantage of this and the first batch of 6 kgs of lenses will be on its way to our west bank clinic very shortly.

Up-to-date photos showing the progress in the Training Centre will be shown in the next newsletter. At present, the walls, window frames and door frames are all in place the plumbing has been finished and the walls have been plastered.  The next step is to lay the floors.  The plumbing took much longer than anticipated because when the ground floor was completed no provision was made for additional drains to be added from above.  This meant a lot of extra pipe work had to be laid. However, they should be able to start on the floors at the end of June.

As a wonderful start to Little Stars’ financial year we were fortunate to be granted a permit to collect funds in Ascot during race week.  We only had four collectors, who got soaked in a downpour, but they collected the magnificent sum of £1,573.  This is enough money to pay for the floors in the new training centre.  May our good fortune continue throughout the year.

We would like to thank our patrons the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon for their support during the year and wish to thank all our supporters and Fund Raisers for their valiant efforts. On behalf of the children of Luxor we offer our gratitude.

 
Happy childrenHappy Children
 
 
Thank you for your support.
 

 


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

 


 

 

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