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Charity’s ‘night market’ returns

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Young students in Nepal get a hot meal every school day through a programme run by KatKids’ Nepal charity partner, Gentle Rain (Photograph supplied)

The Christmas market for the KatKids charity comes tonight with new African arts and crafts to support children.

An annual event, the night market runs from 5.30pm to 8.30pm upstairs at Pier 6 on Front Street.

KatKids, a volunteer fundraising group dedicated to helping children in need, is celebrating a new partnership with a community project in Uganda.

“This school began with one humble man saying we can’t do everything, but we can do something,” said Jennie Lee O’Donnell, chairwoman of the aid group.

“That resonated with KatKids, because we’re just a few people in Bermuda trying to help. We’re proud of that grass roots to grass roots connection.”

The St Paul Kabira Adult Attention School for Orphans provides education to children in a remote area of the East African country that has been hard hit by the HIV epidemic.

KatKids’ night market, devoted to children’s causes, stocks articles that “you won’t find anywhere else”, Ms O’Donnell said.

Items range from jewellery and sculpture to woven baskets and clothes.

Ms O’Donnell added: “The art is original and signed by either Ugandan or Nepali artists and sourced directly. We go to the markets and buy the products.”

Sales of the items, popular as Christmas gifts, also provide crucial support for Asha Nepal, a charity for victims of sex-trafficking, and Gentle Rain Nepal, which is working to improve access to education in the Himalayan nation.

Tickets to the night market, at $10 apiece, go towards the Eliza DoLittle Society, a local food charity for needy families.

“We feel everyone in the community can share in the giving,” Ms O’Donnell said. “At this time of year the needs do not diminish.”

The market comes with music, happy hour drink prices and Nepalese food.

She called St Paul KAASO “an amazing school in an amazing community”.

“KatKids is 100 per cent volunteers, we don’t have staff or a budget or overheads. Everyone gives generously of their time.

“The most important thing for our connection with these organisations is we ask them what they need.

“We believe the needs and priorities should come from them.”

As for the wares on offer, Ms O’Donnell said: “People always ask if it’s the same stuff, but we work hard to find different things each year. They will find things they haven’t previously seen. It’s a wonderful kick-off to the holidays.”

Tonight’s tickets are sold at the door, at Stefanel, or at the charity’s website, www.katkids.com.

Students attending a school in Uganda who depend on charity funding raised in Bermuda (Photograph supplied)