HAPPY NEW YEAR
On behalf of the children of Luxor we would like to thank everyone for their support during 2010 and wish everone a Merry Chrismas and a very HAPPY NEW YEAR.
2011 ASICS Fun Run through London.
As a charity, Little Stars has been invited to book places on the ASICS 10 km run through London in 2011 and for the following 4 years for a very special rate. The minimum number of places we can book is 6 per year. The entrance fee for runners is normally very high and we are being asked for 1/10th of the usual cost. However, as we have to pay for all five years in one go, we are reluctant to waste funds unless we are sure that we have runners who would gather sponsorship funds for Little Stars. If you would like a place in the 2011 race then please let us know. When we have 6 volunteers we will make the booking.
Magnificent Support - Thank You
We would like to thank all our wonderful supporters and our hard working fund raisers for making Little Stars so successful. We need and appreciate every one of you. Fund Raising activities are as diverse as standing with a collecting tin or selling of items on Ebay in the UK with Little Stars as the beneficiary right through to the making of Greetings Cards in Holland with donation of all the proceeds.
Visitors have managed to squeeze clothes for the children in their limited baggage allowance, boxes of lenses for the blind have been sent to the clinic on the West Bank and groups of elderly and disabled women are knitting blankets and hats to protect the children from the desert's cold nights. The effort being put in for Little Stars is enormous.
Donations to Little Stars for the first four months of the financial year (June - September) amounted to nearly £25,000. This is a magnificent sum; even more so when you consider that there is a global recession which has hit charities very hard and that one Luxor charity has just closed through lack of support. As the support base for the children narrows you are needed more than ever. Christmas is still to come but donations for September when people are really stretched sending their children back to school, still reached £6,000.
Thank you again.
Your support is needed more than ever and is appreciated beyond measure.
Blankets and Hats for the children
Today we received a big box of beautifully knitted blankets and about thirty hats. We would like to thank Linda Twamley, Angela Hunt and Helen France at Vision Support in Rhyl for all their hard work and Brian Robertson for arranging everything. We are very grateful. The craftmanship in the articles is superb and I know that a lot of children in Luxor will be delighted with them.
Thank You For Your Support
Winter is Coming
Winter is approaching and whereas Egypt does not suffer the low daytime temperatures that plague Europe, its nights are bitterly cold. This is made worse where there is no heating, no glass in the windows and no warm blankets or warm clothing.
The food parcels for October have already been delivered and preparations are being made for the November deliveries which will include warm blankets and children's coats and jumpers. The clothing is already being sorted into sizes and into boy and girl parcels by Sandie our latest recruit. Sandie is beavering away preparing an inventory of everything that is in our lockup and we are very grateful to her.
Last month we gave out 5 wheelchairs to disabled people in Barat so that will have just about exhausted our stocks and new ones will soon be ordered from Cairo.
While on the subject of wheelchairs we are in desperate need of a hoist that will enable a slightly built woman to get her disabled child who is now bigger and heavier than her, to and from a wheelchair and into bed. We have made enquiries about a hoist with medical providers in Luxor but they are totally unable to help. What we need now is an engineer who might be able to give us some drawings from which we could have a low cost suitable hoist made. If it works well then we would get more made and would be able to help more children.
The new Training Centre
The floors have now been put in the new Training Centre and the painters have moved in. The doors have been delivered ready to be hung and most of the kitchen equipment has been bought. When all the workmen have finished their tasks the sewing machines will be brought from storage and put in place.
The new Centre will be a bright and cheerful place for women and girls to learn and to catch up on some of the education that they never had. Little Stars is very proud of this achievement and believes that the Centre will be a great success. At present we are only able to take girls from the West Bank of Luxor, but who knows what might be possible in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have added a section to our website giving answers to our most frequently asked questions. We believe that these questions cover most of the things that people want to know about Little Stars. However, if you have a question about the administration of Little Stars, its projects or its sponsorship scheme that has not been covered then please do not hesitate to contact us -
We will answer your questions and if they are ones that would interest others, we will add them to our website.
Without you we could do nothing.
Little Stars Food Parcels
Three years ago, when Little Stars started to distribute food parcels, the whole operation was dealt with by an agent of the Egyptian Food Bank. Little Stars was at that time not registered with the Egyptian Authorities and could not buy the parcels in its own right.
Consequently, Little Stars had absolutely no control over where the food parcels went or who received them and there was no contact between Little Stars and the families concerned. It was purely a funding transaction between Little Stars and the Agent. We monitored the situation over a period of six months but it proved extremely unsatisfactory for a number of reasons but primarily because parcels were only given to women who had all the necessary paperwork and were in possession of a special stamp. There were many women who did not have paperwork or the stamp and were turned away tearful and empty handed.
Following a prolonged meeting with Food Bank officials Little Stars decided to distribute its own food parcels over which it would have total control. Quotes were gained from three different companies by the Needs Assessor and the quotes saved for future reference. The lowest quote was chosen, orders were placed and premises were hired as a distribution centre that could store everything that Little Stars needed. That was two years ago and the arrangement has been amazingly successful.
Abandoned wives do not get any Government help. Neither do many widows or families where the equivalent of National Insurance has not been paid. When people cannot read and live in isolated villages, official help is a dream rather than a reality. These are the people that account for most of our sponsored families. If any of our families are eligible for Government help then they can still get it through Government Agencies. Our job is to help those families with children who have fallen through the net and are in most need.
Because we have complete freedom over distribution we can choose our families and do not have to turn our backs on any deserving case. Also, we can tailor our parcels and give large families double the amount that is given to small families. As our families are sponsored it means that we can provide poultry on a monthly basis, can provide blankets and clothing, and can renovate homes, monitor health and improve living conditions.
It is only your support that allows us to do this.
More New Fridges Delivered
At the beginning of August Little Stars delivered another batch of new fridges and cookers to sponsored families with small children in the remote villages. When temperatures exceed 40C and there are small children to be cared for, a fridge ceases to become a luxury and becomes a vital necessity. For some families the lack of an electricity supply was a problem but this has been attended to.
Little Stars delivers chickens to all 60 of the sponsored families each month but many of the families had to cook their whole supply on the day of delivery to stop the meat rotting. Use of the chickens can now be spread over the month.
It is only due to your generosity that we were able to do this.
Three Years of Progress and Achievement
In the three years that Little Stars has been operating on the west bank of the River Nile it has grown from a tiny association that helped another charity operate a run-down clinic into one of the most effective charities in Luxor. It has done all this on a shoe-string as total donations over the three years total around £175,000 (£30,000 of which is still in the bank account). This is less than the annual rent of the London offices of some of the national charities.
How was this money spent? As Little Stars has a policy of complete disclosure for which we have been commended by the Charity Commission, all the figures are on our website and on the Charity Commission site. However, to put it all in a nutshell, because virtually everything is done on a volunteer basis we have almost achieved the impossible and made a difference to so many lives.
From being merely a small support group, Little Stars now has a large clinic for sick and disabled children that has three surgeries with different specialities. Free treatment can now be obtained for children with physical disabilities, general health problems and dental problems. Our latest development is providing the services of an optician and the provision of free glasses.
In addition to this a wonderful new Training Centre for Women and Girls has been created from the cavernous shell of two unfinished flats. Equipment for the centre to offer lessons in sewing has already been bought and funding is in place for the provision of a literacy area where girls can learn how to read. Space is available to add classes in hairdressing and animal care. The aim of the centre is to lead women and girls out of illiteracy and allow them to earn a living which will hopefully lift their families out of poverty. For their children there is a wonderful purpose designed nursery school which has a staff of three and will take 30 children each year. In all we have ten local members of staff which helps provide employment in the area. More will be appointed when the Training Centre is fully operational.
At the beginning of last year Little Stars started a family sponsorship scheme. Initially there was just one family but that quickly expanded and now nearly 60 families receive poultry and food parcels each month. Larger families are receiving up to 10 kgs of flour. Their children's health is monitored and clothing is provided. Approximately 600 new gellabiyas and pairs of shoes have been bought in the last 18 months.
The welfare of the families is extremely important to their sponsors and many homes have had rudimentary toilets added, water piped in from external sources and roofs mended. Some homes have been completely rebuilt after they have collapsed in storms. Over 100 beds have been bought to get children off the floors when sleeping, fridges have been bought where there are babies in the family and cookers provided for homes where cooking was done on an open fire.
With one exception we still have all the Trustees that we started off with and have two magnificent Patrons to whom we are extremely grateful. We are now into our fourth year - may we continue to give aid to those who need it the most
To have done all this with so little funding is remarkable but without you we could have done nothing at all. Thank You for caring.
We are delighted to announce that Little Stars' registration as an Egyptian Society has been completed. It took fourteen months for all the checks and paperwork to be finalised but this week we were issued with an Egyptian charity number. We passed all of the health checks on the clinic and security checks (including police checks on Trustees and staff) with flying colours.
The registration will affect only the charity's accounting procedures and not the way the charity operates. The advantages are that Little Stars will no longer have a tax liability in Egypt which means that we can now buy that longed for vehicle without a tax burden and that we can collect funds from tourists and residents in Luxor which we had not been able to do before.
Thanks are offered to all those in the UK and in Egypt who worked so hard to bring this about.