Refugees from Ukraine, Afghanistan, Congo, Rwanda and Burundi Offer Hand-Made Goods, Traditional Foods at North Austin YMCA Valentine’s Bazaar

Saturday Feb 10, from 10am – 1pm

One hundred percent of proceeds will directly support refugees

AUSTIN – Love will be in the air at the North Austin YMCA on Saturday, February 10, from 10am to 1pm as the Y partners with Global Impact Initiative (GII) to host a Refugee Valentine’s Arts and Crafts Bazaar. The North Austin YMCA is located at 1000 W. Rundberg Lane near Lamar Blvd. More information is available at

The free community event features the work of refugees from several parts of the world who have recently settled in Austin. The artisans will be showcasing hand-made goods, decorative cushions, clothing, gift items, homemade traditional foods and fresh-baked pastries and treats. One hundred percent of proceeds go directly to the vendors. 


“These incredibly talented men and women are trying to rebuild their lives through entrepreneurship, drawing from their unique cultural heritage,” said Anjum Malik, CEO of Global Impact Initiative. “We know Austin is a welcoming community that shows its support for those in need, and we encourage everyone to come learn more about these cultures and these people by celebrating their artistic craftsmanship.”

In the last two years more than 2000 refugees have settled in Central Texas. Through organizations like GII, many have found employment in a variety of sectors such as food processing facilities, commercial driving and hospitality. Refugees are also participating in intensive English-as-a-second language (ESL) classes at the HOFT Institute.

“YMCAs have a long history of providing support to people in times of conflict and welcoming our newest neighbors to America,” said Kristen Pierce, Associate Vice President of Operations for the Greater Austin YMCA. “The Y will be providing more services to the refugee community such as memberships, mental health counseling and recreational programming.”

Pierce highlighted Everline Counseling at the North Austin YMCA as one example of the Y’s inclusive, supportive programming. “We recognize that stigma and financial barriers often deter individuals from seeking help,” Pierce said. “Everline offers a safe and non-judgmental space in our local YMCA centers where YMCA members and community members from all walks of life can access high-quality, low-cost mental health care. Whether through in-person or teletherapy sessions, Everline ensures that help is readily available to those who need it.”


About the Greater Austin YMCA

The Greater Austin YMCA is a dynamic, equitable force in the community that helps people of all backgrounds improve their total wellbeing and quality of life. Anchored in three Central Texas counties, the Y serves nearly 100,000 people annually through eight centers. We also provide afterschool education and care at more than 60 licensed campuses in four school districts and operate 6 early learning centers. Unlike any other organization in the region, the Austin Y has the unique ability to welcome, educate and elevate all, and is committed to creating innovative programs, places…and people. More information is available at


About the Global Impact Initiative

Global Impact Initiative (Gii) is a nonprofit that empowers vulnerable and at-risk communities globally through education, mentoring, and job skills training that builds generational stability and well-being. In the last 3 years Gii has helped over 500 refugees secure jobs, mentored hundreds of refugee women and offered academic support to several hundred refugee children. More information is available at

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