One hundred percent of proceeds will directly support refugees

AUSTIN – The TownLake YMCA will transform into an international bazaar on Saturday, December 30, from 9am to 1pm as the Y partners with Global Impact Initiative (GII) to host a Refugee Holiday Arts and Crafts Bazaar. The TownLake YMCA is located at 1100 W. Cesar Chavez. More information is available at

The free community event features the work of refugees from Ukraine and Afghanistan who have recently settled in Austin. The artisans will be showcasing hand-made goods including jewelry, handbags, dresses, leather goods, candles, decorative cushions, paintings 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  people by celebrating their artistic craftsmanship.”

Since the start of the conflict in Ukraine as well as the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, more than 3000 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 Shaq Brown, Associate Vice President of Operations for the Greater Austin YMCA. “The Y will be collaborating with Gii and providing more services to the refugee community such as free memberships, mental health counseling and recreational programming.”

Brown highlighted “Women’s Wellness Hours” at the TownLake YMCA as one example of the Y’s inclusive, supportive programming. “Many women of the Muslim faith cannot swim in the presence of men,” he said, “so we offer a time on Sundays when women can enjoy the facilities on their own.” Brown added that the program is open to all women and has attracted participants who find value for a wide variety of reasons beyond specific faith and traditions.


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 7 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


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