UK Charity Commission Registration Number 1120536
In February we were fortunate to have three of our four Trustees in Luxor at the same time. This enabled the collection of first-hand information on which major decisions could be made.
Several visits were paid to the Good Samaritan Home for Disabled people and we have offered them the help they so desperately needed. The Good Samaritans were featured in our very first newsletter as it was following a visit to their Home that Little Stars started. The Good Samaritans have found some temporary alternative accommodation for their school rooms but are very short of equipment. They have retained some of their old accommodation, which was and still is in a deplorable state, to house the children in their care. After discussion with the staff of the Home, Little Stars has agreed to pay a monthly allowance to cover the cost of attendance by doctors, children’s medicines, employment of three extra teachers in their school and half of their transport costs. In addition a small allowance has been made to provide the children with treats such as cakes or sweets on special occasions. The staff have asked us to thank our supporters for their generosity. They have been struggling for a long time and the regular donation will ease their burden and really make a difference to them.
It has taken a long time to get the equipment that we needed to renovate the Manacare West Bank Clinic at Seul but we are pleased to say that it was delivered in early March and is now in place. There is to be a change of manager in the clinic and a new manager will be appointed soon. We thank Mr. Tayeb for all the hard work that he put into making the clinic successful and wish him success in his new post.
The clinic also has extra wheelchairs which are distributed to local children who need them. One was presented to Omar (not his real name) to the delight of his mother who has been carrying him around all his life. The wheelchair will make a difference to Omar’s life as he has not been outside of his home for a long time. Now his mother can push him to the shops. Ahmed returned from Cairo after having all his tests done and a treatment programme has been devised to help him lose weight before surgery can be undertaken.
It became evident to our Trustees that the Clinic on the West Bank is in a very isolated position and that there was need for a more central clinic that could deal with a wider range of disabilities. Our team is now seeking premises in which to start a new clinic that will give free treatment to those children who are chronically sick as well as those who are disabled. The advice of the doctors at the existing clinic has been sought on the position of the new clinic and the range it should cover. In order to gather further advice on the new clinic, a visit was made to a clinic at Garagos which is run by Jesuit nursing sisters. Arrangements have been made to meet the Sisters again in Luxor. Their input will be invaluable.
The East Bank Clinic is going from strength to strength and Dr. Ahmed and Mr. Hussein have asked for speech therapy equipment to be installed so that the numbers of children receiving therapy can be increased. Enquiries about the cost and availability of the equipment are being made in Cairo. There is space at the clinic for this innovation but first we have to find the equipment and train the staff to use it. If this is successful we will consider putting the same equipment in the new clinic.
We have also been asked by the Footsteps of Mohammed Association to finish a partially built Hadana in Nage al Arab. This nursery school has been built by the local residents on land close to the mosque but the villagers do not have the funds to complete the school or to furnish and equip it. The new clinic is Little Star’s first priority but as soon as that is complete we will do our best to help the villagers get the little nursery school that they need. The Sisters in Garagos also run a very successful Nursery School (Hadana) and we hope to use this as a model.
The distribution of food parcels continues in villages of both the East and West Banks. These parcels are vital as the meagre welfare payments of around 50 le per month cannot keep pace with the soaring cost of food. Parcels are at present given to La Galta on the West Bank and Nage el Arab and Mehadet on the East Bank.
More than 60 Kilos of children’s clothes were taken to Luxor this month and several hundred more kilos are waiting to be taken out from the UK. The weather in Luxor is getting warmer and so most of the clothes will be stored until the autumn for distribution before the cold weather sets in. Another 200 blankets will be bought during the summer when prices should be lower and these will also be stored so that we are ready for the winter.
Each year the organisers of Royal Ascot Week of racing allow charities to collect funds at the race meetings. Only five permits are allowed and these can be dominated by the big charities so places are allotted by public ballot. Little Stars was immensely pleased to win one of the places and be awarded a day at the races. We wish to thank the Royal Ascot organisers for helping us in this way.
We are honoured that the Governor of Luxor Dr. Samir Farag has graciously agreed to present some of our football boots to the youth teams in Luxor. This event will be covered by Aswan Television and will raise the profile of Little Stars in Egypt. We are grateful to Suffolk Trading Standards for their newspaper report about Little Stars and to Egypt Air who are flying the boots out to Luxor for us. The boots are all boxed up and ready to go. Boots will also be offered to other organisations and individuals.
Recent research has shown that 80% of all charity donations go to the 2% of charities that can afford big advertising campaigns. 26% of all charities have an income below £1,000 per annum. Little Stars is not in the big league but our supporters have donated close to £25,000 in the last nine months which means that we can now really make a difference. This is a fantastic achievement for a new charity and we cannot express the depth of our gratitude. It is your donations that will fund the new clinic and the new schools. Our accounts are fully up-to-date and will be presented to the Charity Commission at the end of May 2008.
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