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ASU social work students help refugees with pop-up shop

Interns create one-day Global Marketplace for immigrants to sell handmade items

snowflake ornament
December 13, 2017

You can finish your holiday shopping and help the refugee and immigrant community at the same time by shopping at the pop-up Global Market at Phoenix City Hall this Friday.

The market, which will run from noon to 4 p.m. in the lobby, will sell crafts and baked goods made by refugees through a project by Arizona State University graduate students.

Shoppers will find handmade soap, pastries, tablecloths, kitchen linens, teapots, plates, holiday ornaments and other crafts, with everything priced at less than $25.

Alyaa Al-Maadeed is an intern in the Office of Global Social Work at ASU, and she and the other interns have been working with three ethnic-based groups to create the pop-up shop. Al-Maadeed is a student in the master’s of social work program in the College of Public Service and Community Solutions at ASU.

“We are trying to develop a program with those nonprofits so they can be self-sustainable to help refuges sell their handmade items, and a pop-up store is low-risk and low-cost,” said Al-Maadeed, who earned her bachelor’s of social work at ASU in May.

The student team is hoping the shop pops up for a longer period in the spring.

“We have many vacant shops in Phoenix, so we are trying to negotiate with landlords to provide a location for one month rather than something permanent, which will make it low-cost and a low-risk investment for the nonprofits,” she said.

“Then they can have more refugees participate in the long run.”

The nonprofit groups that are participating in the Global Market on Friday are Phoenix Syrian Sweets Exchange, Refugee and Immigrants Community for Empowerment and the American Muslim Women’s Association of Arizona.

The students also worked with Phoenix Vice Mayor Laura Pastor and with the International Rescue Committee, which trains refugees how to open small businesses, teaching skills such as tracking inventory and calculating taxes, Al-Maadeed said.

They’ll also have a survey for customers to fill out during the pop-up shop Friday.

“So we can have their opinion on how we can improve and what they liked,” she said.

Top photo: Handmade holiday ornaments will be among the items for sale at the Global Marketplace from noon to 4 p.m. Friday at Phoenix City Hall, 200 Washington St., Phoenix.