The amphitheatre of Ryerson’s Student Learning Centre (SLC) transformed into a holiday market this week with over 50 vendors and a lot of homegrown talent.
For the third year in a row, Shop the SLC gave independent entrepreneurs a platform to promote their products, and shoppers a chance to cash in on some unique finds.
But this year’s market went beyond handmade accessories and baked goods. Many students used this opportunity to broaden the conversation around international social issues.
Initiatives ranged from Children of Hope Uganda, who work to empower war-affected youth, to Ryerson’s Alternative Spring Break group, who are travelling to India and Zambia this spring to build and renovate housing, schools, community centres and sanitation conditions.
For Dana Kandalaft, the founder of Tight-Knit Syria, markets like Shop the SLC allow her to connect face-to-face with people who are interested in the non-profit organization, which helps rebuild the lives of women in Syrian and Lebanese refugee camps by selling their hand-knitted and embroidered products.
“It gives us a chance to actually dive into this amazing story about the positive impacts that these products have,” she said. “It’s not only a tangible connection between Syria and people here in Toronto, but it’s also an emotional connection.”