Refugees from Ukraine, Afghanistan, Congo, Rwanda and Burundi Offer Hand-Made Goods, Traditional Foods at TownLake YMCA Mother’s Day Bazaar

Saturday May 11, from 10am – 2pm | One hundred percent of proceeds will directly support refugees

Event highlights refugee craftsmanship, workforce capabilities

AUSTIN – Love will be in the air at the TownLake YMCA on Saturday, May 11, from 10am to 2pm, as the Y partners with Global Impact Initiative (GII) to host a Refugee Mother’s Day Arts and Crafts Bazaar. The TownLake YMCA is located at 1100 W. Cesar Chavez 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 Shaq Brown, Chief Operations Officer 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.”

Brown also highlighted the event’s potential for showcasing the artisans’ craftsmanship and workforce capabilities. He said that two prior bazaars have generated more than $40,000 in direct revenue for vendors as well as more than 10 full-time job offers and another dozen work contracts for occupations such as baking, cooking, sewing and tailoring.


“These men and women are extremely talented and hard-working,” Malik said. “Anyone looking to hire dependable employees should come to the bazaar and see their work firsthand.”


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

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