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Global Holiday Market Gives Refugee Entrepreneurs a Unique Opportunity to Showcase Their Culture

2023 Global Holiday Market
The Global Holiday Market is even bigger this year! Photo by Eric Whitaker, 2023.

The annual One Journey Global Holiday Market gives refugees resettled in the DC area the opportunity to showcase and share their talent and culture by being able to offer unique handicrafts and gifts “in a location that otherwise would have not been accessible to them,” says Mariale Bonilla, owner of LamimiBoutique. LamimiBoutique, which is based in Maryland, offers handmade crochet creations.

photo of craft from LamimiBoutique
Photo from LamimiBoutique

The Holiday Market, which will take place Dec. 2-3 at St. Thomas Church in the city’s Dupont Circle neighborhood, provides the opportunity to participate in an event that is “so meaningful and meet with many talented immigrants from all over the world,” says Mariale, who participated in last year’s Holiday Market. The Holiday Market is also part of the larger Dupont Circle Holiday Market Pop-Up which allows these refugee vendors and entrepreneurs access to a larger, mainstream community audience of shoppers.

One Journey’s Global Holiday Market offers “light, unity, and hope to many of us who have left the land where we were born,” says Tamara Barnabei, owner of Arttepuy. And that light, hope, and unity can also be found each summer during the One Journey Festival, she says. “It’s a place of reunion, of sharing stories, and of great learning. I have participated in several events organized by One Journey, and it brings us a lot of happiness.”

Crafts from Arttepuy
Photo from Arttepuy

Tamara is originally from Venezuela and moved to Washington, DC, over 20 years ago. “I created Arttepuy out of a need to showcase and honor my country’s rich cultural heritage,” she says. Along with handmade arts and crafts from Venezuela, Arttepuy also showcases the diversity of Latin American cultures through arts and crafts from countries including Guatemala, Mexico, and Brazil.

“Moreover, each piece carries within a mission, ranging from supporting numerous artisans, some of whom are in disadvantaged situations, to supporting projects focused on sustainable products and practices,” Tamara noted.

Arttepuy offers “a place where those who have emigrated can find a piece of their country and not feel so far from them,” Tamara says. "In my country, due to various reasons, we have had to immigrate to other countries. Many cases are truly dramatic. Venezuela is one of the countries with the highest number of refugees despite not being in war."

Making the situation of refugees more visible is important. It’s a way to raise awareness in the world about this challenging situation. Moreover, if through activities like the one organized by One Journey, we can exchange ideas, support each other, and learn from others’ experiences, then the mission is truly fulfilled. It’s through these connections and shared knowledge that we can make a meaningful impact and bring about positive change.


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