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Little Stars - Luxor Children's Trust

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

AUTUMN 2013

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Welcome to our Autumn Newsletter which shows what we have been doing over the last few months.  The newsletter is also available as a PDF download from our website that you can read at leisure.  If you have any queries about our work or would like more information about what Little Stars does, then please do not hesitate to contact us on contact@littlestars-luxor.org.

Egypt in General

As the cost of living soars and unemployment grows, the plight of the poor in Egypt is deepening alarmingly.  The violence that flared throughout the country following the coup has lessened and although there are still daily demonstrations they are now small and largely peaceful.  However, there are still sectarian problems and tribal feuds to be dealt with in the middle of the country around Minya and in the outer villages around Luxor.  . 

The Foreign Office travel advice for Egypt, which advised against all but necessary travel, has now been relaxed and so tourists who venture to Luxor will now be covered by insurance but sadly this has not brought the tourists back or encouraged the airlines to restore direct flights into Luxor.  Hotel occupancy in the big hotels is still at only 2% and many employees have been given unpaid leave.  Realistically it is doubtful whether the ‘good old days’ of mass tourism in Luxor will ever return as the pattern of holidays is changing.  Luxor now needs investment in industry on a large scale with an emphasis on labour intensive work rather than on high mechanisation.  Until then the demands on Little Stars grow daily. 

 

Sponsored Families

All of our sponsored families have been visited regularly by our staff and we have tried to obtain up-to-date photos for their sponsors but due to the situation in the more remote villages this has not always been possible.  We apologise to everyone who has not been sent a photo but we hope to rectify this in the near future.

 

Family at Haja MariseChildren in Haja MariseDiasbled child in sponsored family

  Despite the problems, Little Stars was able to deliver food parcels and vital medicines to our families

 
The Centre

The unrest in Egypt has led to even further delays in the completion of the new centre but it is hoped that the move will be fully completed by the end of December.  However, the building work on the Nursery School and the Clinic is finished but shelves and wall decorations to make both areas more child friendly still need to be added.  The finish on the centre so far is very opulent and this was the gift of the landlord as we have a fixed rent which was agreed before building began. 

 A small group, Christian Miller (from Hurghada), Dawn Bent (from the UK) and Elly de Heus (from Luxor) visited the centre and have made suggestions on how the provision can be made even better.  Dawn has prepared a report on their visit which we have reproduced later in this newsletter.  Christian brought a range of items with him from Hurghada that were donated to Little Stars by Hurghada residents.  We are very grateful for this wonderful support.

 
The Clinic

The clinic area of the new centre is actually finished but there has been a delay in moving in as the premises needed inspecting by the Charity Commission in the Health Ministry to ensure that they were fit for purpose.  The inspections have been completed successfully but we are still awaiting the final piece of paper that will allow our license to be transferred from the old address to the new one.  The dental chair had to be moved by an expert who came down from Cairo specially to ensure that it was properly installed.  Initial reaction to the clinic has been very favourable and we hope to be able to extend our provision as soon as it us fully operational. 

 
The Little Sars ClinicThe Little Stars Clinic
Shelving and child friendly posters are still needed in the clinic.
Nursery School

The children were able to start their school year in October in the new premises as planned.  The nursery school was offered to us at the same level of rent as the old site but is more than twice as big.   There are now 45 children in the school and the increased space allows us to have two separate classrooms and a very large play room plus an office and a reception area.  The classes are split into age groups 4-5, and 5-6 years after which they start primary school.

The outside area is still unfenced as so for security reasons we have not been able to use or develop it.  However, we have been assured that the surrounding wall will be erected soon and so we shall start looking for playground equipment at the beginning of 2014.

 
Children in the Nursery School
The children from the Nursery School are now in the new centre
 

The Training Centre

 The Training Centre is still in the old premises but will be moving before the end of December.  When the move is completed we hope to be able to offer an extended range of courses.

 

Visitors’ Report

Little Stars Centre in Luxor - December 2013

 I was lucky enough to be able to visit Little Stars Luxor, and wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived.  We pulled up at the front of the building and were taken around to the back of it where the main entrance is for the children.  There is a big piece of land here that is currently being worked on in order to turn it into a playground for the school children.  It is a good sized piece of land that is relatively not overlooked, with plenty of trees scattered around to ensure that the children will have adequate shade in the hotter summer months.

On the ground floor is the Nursery School

Upon entering the main door, there is a very nice bright reception area adequately furnished, and the first thing that strikes you is how clean and bright it looks.  There are pictures of all the children together with their names adorning the walls, which gives it a nice personal touch.

Immediately to the left of the entrance hall is the first classroom.  It again is brightly decorated the children all have their own desks and chairs which are nice bright colours.  Every child is dressed in a uniform and on the whole was immaculately turned out.  These children were five years old and whilst I was there were having a lesson on their numbers.  A large white board is on the wall, the teacher had written the numbers one to ten in Arabic and the children took it in turns to teach to the others the numbers which were then recited back excitedly by all members of the class.  When that child had finished teaching the next child took its turn and so on.  They were all happily doing this and every child joined in.  The teacher then demonstrated to us that they had learnt their numbers not just consecutively but that they could jump around the numbers, and also could recognise a number by holding her fingers up as well.   It would have been nice to have seen some reading books in the classroom, but I am sure these will come.

Coming out of this room and walking further down the corridor on the right hand side is a large play room.  This was equipped with a computer, a large television, a Wendy house, and two play kitchens.  The children whilst we were there were lead into this room for a rest period whereby they sat all neatly in lines with their leg crossed engrossed in a children’s programme.  Not a murmur came from them as they were so engrossed in what they were watching.

 
Children in the Nursery SchoolChildren in the Nursery School

The children love their new classrooms

 

Further down on the left hand side is a substantial sized bathroom, again this was spotlessly clean, and was surprised that a little boy who had obviously used the bathroom, when finished had actually washed his hands.  Well done to the teacher for teaching them some basic hygiene! 

At the end of the corridor is another classroom.  The children in here were six years old, and at the time of visiting were writing in their ‘alphabet book’.  It was a joy to sit and watch them doing their writing, each page was given to a symbol and they had to do a whole page of that particular symbol neatly and correctly.  All the class wanted to show us their books and were very proud of what they have achieved.  Looking through the books, some of them had seemed to have achieved high standards of writing.

It was an absolute joy to see this little school, all of the children were happy and seemed to want to be there, the teachers were very polite and again clean and tidy and seemed to be doing a very professional job.

 
On the second floor of the building is the Clinic
 

The Little Stars ClinicBathroom

 

Again this was an eye opener, and first impressions are that you have arrived at a private clinic in the UK.  It was spotlessly clean, the decoration was extremely soothing, and the reception area had a very nice seating area.  There were some padded mats in one area, which are used for some physiotherapy.  The GP Doctor’s Surgery was well equipped, there was an examination bed, complete with screen for privacy, baby weighing scales, a large medicine cupboard, the usual blood pressure machines, and again was spotlessly clean.  There is also a dental room, which was equipped with dental chair, sterilising unit, spit bowl, drill, etc., just like we have back in the UK. 

The bathroom was amazing, not only did it have a hoist over the bath, which would enable disabled people to have a bath, but some sort of hydro physic, the bathroom suite was spotlessly clean, there was liquid soap, towels, and toilet paper.  Again this was very tastefully decorated.  The last room we went into was the Physiotherapy Doctor’s room and again this was equipped with all manner of equipment that we would be proud of in the UK.  As a one stop clinic it seemed to cater for all eventualities

I was extremely impressed by my visit, and would urge anybody who happens to be on a visit to Luxor, to ensure that they make the effort to see  this worthwhile cause, it certainly is an eye opener into what can be achieved with a bit of effort and forethought into what is required over there and I hope that the efforts are continued for many years to come, giving hope to these children from such poor backgrounds, and hope for those will health issues, that would otherwise have nowhere else to go.

 
Dawn Bent – December 2013.
 
Children in Haja Marise
 
 

Thank You

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

 

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