Pop-up store in Downtown Phoenix supports refugee women

Many refugees are living in Arizona, and now there's an effort to help them get their lives started.

A new pop-up shop has opened in a donated retail space at Downtown Phoenix's CityScape, which features foods and crafts made by refugee women.

Three Arizona State University graduate students developed the Global Market project with the help of Phoenix's vice mayor, in an effort to help refugee women learn important business skills. During the month-long event, these women are able to sell their products and interact with customers.
All in a retail space in cityscape, which was donated to them.

"The purpose of this store is to find an environment where refugee women can feel empowered, where they can sell their handmade items and baked goods, share their culture in a way where they can be self sufficient," said Alyaa al-Maadeed, one of the three graduate students who started up the project.

"We're hoping to reach our short-term goals, which is to help each refugee vendor and the ethnic-based group organization to find an opportunity of successful sustainability," said al-Maadeed.

The project is giving people like Tara a chance to market her products.

"I'm learning how to deal with people, how to market my stuff," said Tara. "It's not only about putting the stuff on the shelf because some people do not know. It's about explaining the things for them."

Hanan moved to Arizona three years ago from Iraq, and she continues to work on her art, stateside.

"I love being here because people here are much better, and they know how to communicate with people and they know how to deal better than Iraq, where there are lots of suffering," said Hanan, via a translator.

Al-Maadeed admits it's been a lot of work so far, but it's all worth it.

"One of them comes in and is like, 'guess what? I can say a full sentence in English. I can say exactly what I'm doing to customers,'" said al-Maadeed. "This is what gives us the true satisfaction."

Al-Maadeed said it's the first-ever social innovation project that the School of Social Work at ASU has done. The Global Market will remain up and running, through the end of the month.