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How it all Began

Pearl Smith was on holiday in 1992 when she met doctors attending a conference in Luxor. During their discussions Pearl expressed concern for the condition of some of the street children. She was invited to visit a local clinic caring particularly for children and mothers. In this one dingy room she became all too aware of the desperate plight of abandoned children in Egypt.

The conditions she witnessed were imprinted on her heart and from this moment, the need of these children preyed on her mind.

Flying back and forth from her UK home, Pearl became a regular visitor to the clinic. She decided a special home was needed for the children. She sold her own home in the UK and moved to Luxor where she and Dr Taha began a campaign to have the abandoned children registered into Sunshine care, working under the auspices of the local social affairs departments. This was a huge task, the odds heavily against Pearl as a foreigner and a woman working in an Islamic state.

In 1999 Pearl finally achieved recognition for her work and the Project was awarded charitable status in Egypt. From this moment Sunshine started to receive new born babies found abandoned in Luxor and surrounding areas. The general procedure from there on was that any child found would first be named by the Egyptian courts and then registered into the care of the Sunshine Project.

In 2003 Pearl Smith returned to the UK to receive treatment for cancer, a battle which she lost in February 2004, after which long-term deputy, Lorna Ford took the reins in Luxor.

Lorna re-established the Project under charity No 5 and helped organise the purchase of the Ahmed Esmet Street premises. She ensured the completion of the Village Project. Lorna left the Project in 2009 and Sunshine continued under the management of the Sunshine Foundation board members in Luxor. The Sunshine Project is an established registered charity (No 5).

The Project in Luxor continues to flourish and continues to provide home and care to more than 80 children. It has become one of the largest NGO organisations in Upper Egypt. On average a new baby arrives every month.

Raising the Profile

As the work was being carried out in Luxor so it was in the UK. A sponsorship scheme was set up to help provide for the day-to-day care of the children.

Fundraising events were organised amongst supporters of the Project and word soon spread among visiting tourists and travel companies working in Luxor.

Thomson holiday reps began to visit the project and eventually Thomson became the biggest company to sponsor our work. They encouraged their clients to visit the Project and support our work.

In 1999 Thomson managers in Luxor arranged for the Times newspaper to fly out to Luxor and an article published that year helped considerably to raise the profile of the Project and the founder, Pearl Smith. In 2002 two other travel companies, Imaginative Traveller and Explore Worldwide followed suit adopting the project and encouraging support amongst their clients.

In 2006 the British Trust formed the Sunshine Project, a charitable company limited by guarantee. Money donated and raised here in the UK is transferred to Egypt for the welfare and care of the needy children of Luxor. Sunshine Project works closely with the Sunshine Foundation in Luxor to ensure the children receive maximum benefit.

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