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Little Stars - Luxor Children's Trust

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

WINTER 2012/13

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Welcome to our Winter Newsletter which shows what we have been doing over the winter months.  The newsletter is also available as a PDF download that you can read at leisure.  If you have any queries about our work or have would like more information about what Little Stars does, then please do not hesitate to contact us.

Egypt in General

Towards the end of 2012, life in Egypt was beginning to improve, except for long queues for fuel, and tourists were beginning to return to Luxor when violence broke out again in Cairo following the 2nd anniversary of the Revolution.  As the present government was democratically elected and the constitution was put in place only after a referendum, it is hard to see what gives the present demonstrators the right to demand the fall of yet another government.  Hopefully things will settle down again soon and the bloodshed and loss of life will end.  There has been little evidence of unrest in Luxor as people are too busy trying to make a living and provide for their families to have time to waste in anarchy.  With the very low numbers of tourists staying in Luxor, all levels of society are suffering badly.

 
The Centre
 
In the next few months we are hoping to move the entire Little Stars Centre and the Distribution Centre to a new site on the west bank where all the Little Stars operations will be on one site.  The new premises are made up of six joining flats in one block that has a large garden attached which will be for the sole use of the Little Stars Nursery School and Clinic. 
     
    The building for the ne centreThe large garden
      ........Moving to the new building which has a large garden will allow Little Stars’ projects to operate under one roof
     

    For the first time the Nursery School will have a proper outdoor playground and we will be able to install simple equipment such as swings and slides. We aim to get equipment that can also be used by our disabled children in the afternoons when the clinic is open and the Nursery School is closed.  This will get maximum use of the area.

    When the move is complete we intend to extend the classes in the Training Centre to include hand-made craft products such as card making, paper making and soap making.  When the trainees are proficient we hope to be able to sell their products in a Little Stars Fair Trade Charity Shop which will open when funds permit.  When land is available we are considering plans for a women’s co-operative.  Until such time, we will start building up a stock of items for sale.  If you think that you might find an outlet for any of the cards please let us know.  To set this venture on its way. card making supplies have been sent us by Mary Crowther, Sarah Cotterill, Rawya Ali Hoballa and Ron and Tracey Cox.

    Building Programme

    Our house rebuilding programme has continued and a home in Tarif which was in deplorable condition was demolished and completely rebuilt.  The old house was of mud brick walls with mud floors which had been soaked with waste water and sewage from a toilet in the street which was used by several families.  The house is now of brick and has several rooms which are clean and safe for the children.  There is still some work to be done on the floors and this will be done when funds allow. 

    The old mud brck houseThe new red brick house
    Before and after photos of a house that was demolished and rebuilt at Tarif.  The house is now safe for the children
    The widow's house is in danger of collapseHer whole family live in this one room
    This widow’s house in Nage Birka consists of one room for her and her family and is about to collapse.
    This widow is in desperate need of rehousingThis open-air toilet serves a whole family
    A widow and her 5 children desperately need rehousing and the open-air toilet above serves an entire family
     

    There have also be calls for help from several more widows whose houses and about to collapse and there is now more work to be done than we can possibly afford to complete so we are starting a list of work priorities.  We were, however, able to complete all the work which was funded by the fund raising efforts of Jacqui Taliesin el Masry and Claire Murphy.

     

    Supporters’ visits

    Dr Diane Johnson, one of our family sponsors, was in Luxor in January and was able to visit her family for the first time.  Trustees were available to accompany her and were pleased to make the arrangements.   The family live in the village area of Raiyana and Dr Johnson has taken the time to write a report of her visit.  She is an archaeologist and a long-term supporter of Little Stars, helping to equip the Training Centre through a wonderful donation.

    Dr Diane Johnson - January 2013.

    “I first visited Egypt about 5 years ago just for a simple relaxing holiday, little did I know that I would fall in love with Luxor! I returned every year eager to learn of Egypt’s ancient heritage and the more I visited the more I also wondered about what present day life in Egypt was really like, especially for the less privileged people who were of course generally not found in the tourist areas. Glimpses of real Egypt could be caught when traveling around but I found it very difficult to know what to do to help support those that needed it who probably had little or no help available to them. Exploring the internet I encountered Little Stars and enquired about family sponsorship, I was sent details of a family with a mother and 5 children, the father had died when their house was still being built and they had been living in it incomplete. Little stars had already started to support them amongst things helping make their home safer to live in, I had found my family to support.

    As more time passed I decided to help when I could with donations to support other Little Stars projects such as the training centre where women can attend to learn new skills that may help them support their families giving them a real future and opportunity to change their lives in a fundamental way. Even though I frequently thought about my sponsor family and hoped things were improving for them I never thought that I would have the chance to meet them. Then in January 2013 I returned to Egypt on a holiday with some spare time available so I decided to try and arrange a visit to the centre and see my sponsor family. Connie kindly helped to arrange this for me and when the day arrived in Luxor, was met by Nagar one of the Egyptian trustees who hosted our visit for the day.

    First a visit to the centre, unfortunately the children were not at the nursery at the exact time I visited but all of their smiling faces were looking at us from photographs on the walls. Small chairs, desks, toys, and books were in the main nursery area which led to an area where outside doors could be opened allowing more light and fresh air where the children could use several play houses and toys. Medical treatment rooms were available for doctor and dentist consultations with high standards of modern equipment. Upstairs the training centre was impressive too with separate areas for IT, literacy and sewing with a range of computing equipment, sewing machines and all the necessary supplies. The centre is obviously a very important place bringing immense opportunities to change lives in such fundamentally important ways.

     
    Dr.Johnson with her sponsored familyDr Johnsons with her sponsored family
    Dr Diane Johnson with the family she sponsors at Raiyana

    Now we travelled down the road to meet up with my sponsor family, the night before unusually for Luxor had been rain and thunder so when we left the road the path to their house was a bit muddy. The street was narrow a few of the locals were around and smiled as we walked past. Soon we were at my sponsor family home, since I started to sponsor them the oldest daughter has now married and lives nearby, all the other four children were here, the mum greeted us and showed us into their home. The children were a little shy but very curious, we all said hello and they looked very grown up shaking hands with me. Their home appeared to have almost no furniture and was quite dark inside, the mum was keen to show me the kitchen area which was outside.  She had recently received a fridge/freezer from Little Stars but needed a new cooker quite badly. They each gave big smiles when handed the gifts I had taken with me, basic things that I hoped any child would be able to enjoy like paper, coloured pens, stickers, sweets and chocolate. Since returning back home to the UK I managed to give a donation to help Little Stars purchase and install a new cooker for my family.

    The whole experience was fantastic, to actually get to see in person how the important work Little Stars does makes such a difference to people, both at the training centre and through family sponsorship.”

    Diane Johnson January 2013.

    Fund Raising

    We would like to give special thanks to your patrons the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon for including Little Stars as a beneficiary of the Christmas Fair at Highclere Castle and for the magnificent donation from Countess Carnarvon which allowed us to pay the deposit required for the new premises.  Our gratitude is boundless.  Highclere Castle is now holding a special exhibition in celebration of the 90th anniversary of the finding of King Tutankhamun’s tomb by Howard Carter and the 5th Earl in 1922, showing the tomb as it was when discovered.

    Our supporters, Anthony Foster from Wales and Annette Kendallevans from Manchester brought us car loads of items they had collected for the children.  These have been boxed ready for shipment to Luxor.  Thank you. 

    There has been a magnificent effort by the ladies who knit for the children.  They turn your unwanted old balls of yarn into lovely clothes.  The effort and attention to detail that has gone into making the clothes is truly commendable.  They are however, running out of yarn.  Sarah Cotterill has acquired a bag of around 80 balls which will keep them going (thank you Sarah) but we are always in need of more.  If you have any unwanted knitting yarn about, please consider sending it to us.

    Beautiful clothes knitted by our supportersScarves and hats knitted by our supporters

    At Christmas we received a big box of toys from Ron and Tracey Cox including the excellent playbox shown below.  These toys will be wonderful for the new Nursery School when it is ready.  We were also lucky to be given a whole batch of T shirts and trousers by the staff at Heathrow Airport.  The clothing was all new and had been specially made for the airport Olympic Welcome Volunteers.

     

    Play box donated by Ron and Tracey Coxpolo Shirts from Heathrow

    An activity play-box donated by Ron and Tracey Cox and boxes of clothing from Heathrow Airport.

     

    Several other supporters were in Luxor during the winter and brought children’s clothing with them in their baggage allowance.  We know how hard it is to get everything into a case when you are going on holiday and so we are doubly grateful for their generosity in giving up baggage space.  Thank you Sue Varilly who came from the UK with the Bloomsbury Group and Irma Wardenier who came for Holland.  Gwyn Ashworth-Platt was able to bring two suitcases of clothes with her which was a magnificent effort.  All these items were collected for sorting sorted in our distribution centre. 

    Stan Kurowski has allowed us to use his photographs in a tourist guide to Luxor that has been written to raise funds for Little Stars.  Stan has also given his time to edit and add to the book which will be available through Amazon in Kindle format and in paperback and through Amun Publishing and Little Stars as a PDF file. 

     
    Luxor LexiconLittle Stars Cards
    The guide-book written to raise funds and an example of the cards to be made in the Training Centre.
    Unfortunately, due to the economic downturn in the UK, Sweet Dreams were not able to meet their commitment to donate sufficient funds for us to buy the promised minibus but we have renewed our contract with them and hope that the situation improves over the next year.  What funds they were able to give us will be added to the £5,000 already in the minibus fund.

    Our Little Stars T Shirts are still available.  Please consider buying a T Shirt for one of the village children.  They only cost £2.50 each and will provide new clothing for a child and help replenish Little Stars funds.

    Governance of Little Stars - Trustees

    We are sad to lose Jane Nash as a Trustee and would like to thank her for her immense support over the last six years.  We wish her great success in her new ventures.  We are pleased to welcome Sylvia Kennedy to the team; she will be a great asset.  Our governing documents only require us to have three Trustees but we feel that having four Trustees gives us a greater base of experience to draw upon in making decisions concerning the day to day operation and the future of Little Stars.   

     
    A proud mother with her baby son

    A proud village Mum with her growing son wearing a Little Stars hat.

     
     
     

    Thank You

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

     
       

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