KatKids market open for business
Home-grown international aid charity KatKids is hosting its tenth annual night market tomorrow.
Proceeds from the event will go towards supporting children in need in Bermuda, Nepal and Southern Africa.
“The market is our annual fundraiser,” chairwoman Jennie Lee O'Donnell told The Royal Gazette. “This is our tenth market.
“It's unique to Bermuda in that we travel to our projects and return with the merchandise to sell to support them.”
Ms O'Donnell, who just returned from Nepal on Friday, added that there will be an “incredible variety and amount of unique gifts” with something for every price range.
“The market is a night out not just a purchasing opportunity, although it's a great purchasing opportunity for Christmas,” she added.
“It's all decorated so that you feel you are in an exotic place while you're buying items.”
There will also be a silent auction with original art works from South Africa, Nepal and Bermuda. Ms O'Donnell explained that all the proceeds from the $10 entrance tickets will go directly to The Eliza DoLittle Society.
Meanwhile, the funds raised from sales of merchandise will go to the other projects. The night market will be held from 5pm to 9pm at the lower level of Pier Six.
In addition to the Eliza DoLittle Society, KatKids also supports the breakfast programme run by the Coalition for the Protection of Children.
In South Africa, it funds the transportation of donated food to a shelter for children in need, in conjunction with FoodBank South Africa.
This enables a steady supply of food while freeing up the shelter's funds.
Having originally started as a charity for Nepal, this is where their biggest projects are still based.
It works with partners Asha Nepal, a charity for those affected by sex-trafficking, and Gentle Rain Nepal, which is working to improve access to education.
Through these organisations, KatKids has been able to provide disaster relief funds after Nepal was devastated by an earthquake last year that killed almost 9,000 people.
Ms O'Donnell returned from visiting the projects in Kathmandu and the surrounding areas in Nepal on Friday.
“It's really amazing to see all the work on the ground,” she said, stressing that all travel costs are borne by the volunteers.
“I was pleased to get out and see where we had supplied some earthquake relief.
“This is a country where people live on $2 per day on average — they have industriously moved on with incredible hope and optimism. It's a testament to their resiliency.”
Ms O'Donnell has visited Nepal four times, stressing that it is important to physically see the projects they are funding. Through the earthquake relief funds, KatKids has also been able to set up new programmes to help children with post-traumatic stress disorder.
They are able to learn life skills through weekly futsal practice, while also receiving a nutritious meal.
“Usually only boys in Nepal do sports,” Ms O'Donnell explained. But she added that the programme had also been opened to girls, who had embraced the opportunity enthusiastically.
“It's been an incredible vehicle. The smiles on their faces are unbelievable.”
KatKids also funds an art after-school programme to help children express themselves and to adjust to “normalcy after the quake”.
The charity is now looking for more sponsorship so it can keep the programmes running.
Other donations go towards the food for education feeding programme in schools and to create child friendly classrooms.
• For more information, visit www.katkids.com