Aug 25, 2006: Supporting Social Services: Here & Abroad

August 25, 2006—"Through the years it has become more and more apparent to me that one of the main functions of a flea market is the support of social services. This month's newsletter features two such examples," said Tom Rall, Manager of The Flea Market at Eastern Market since 1984.


One of our exhibitors, The Covenant House, and its Washington Artisans Workshop, was recently profiled on Channel WUSA9 news. The piece, JC & Friends: Nikia Young, written By JC Hayward, features Nikia Young, a high school drop-out, who came to Covenant House eight months ago to work on getting her GED and to perfect her woodworking skills in the woodworking program.

Covenant House of Washington, which recently celebrated its tenth anniversary, was established to address homelessness and poverty among teens and young adults in the District. The goal of the program is to equip youth with marketable job skills.

The Artisans Workshop, led by volunteer Matt Barinholtz, has been regularly selling its work at The Flea Market at Eastern Market. And the feature follows Nikia and some of the other artisans directly to their market booth, a training ground of salesmanship.
Learn more about The Covenant House and its Washington Artisans Workshop. The Covenant House Artisans on WUSA9


Katrina Ulrich is the newest Featured Exhibitor at Her business, The Red Persimmon, showcases cotton and silk bags, beaded jewelry, and home decorator items made from vintage saris. The products are all made in a “Women's Income Generation” program called Blue Mango, co-founded by Ulrich with her sister, the onsite coordinator, in South India.

Blue Mango works with marginalized women: those affected by AIDS, widowed and abandoned wives, women who are physically or mentally challenged or victims of domestic abuse. It provides a place to work and an opportunity to earn a fair income.

Instead of first designing a product and then hiring trained women for production, they first accept women regardless of education or experience and provide free training. They then design marketable products which they can produce.

The women are encouraged to take ownership in Blue Mango. Instead of hiring from the outside, the women are promoted into positions of higher responsibility. Blue Mango was founded in November 2001 and has grown from one room with six women to a new workspace with more than sixty women.

Every year Katrina spends three months in India with the program. This year she invited fellow exhibitor Susan Johnson of Lilypad Designs to tag along. "She loves India and is doing wonders working in the beading room and designing new jewelry," Katrina emailed us earlier this year. "We're soaking up the intense and warm sunshine, the green parrots early in the morning, the coconut palms and surrounding rice paddies and mountains.”

More information is available at The Red Persimmon


The Flea Market at Eastern Market is a big pinpoint in Map Quest’s newest publication, Bargain Quest magazine.

A new nationwide bargain shopping directory, the first issue features a "Special Edition Flea Market Guide" that highlights the country's flea markets in a review and atlas format. The District of Columbia is recognized among the other states in the review section and claims, "Although the bargain entertainment is plentiful, when it comes to flea markets there's only one real choice--The Flea Market at Eastern Market."

Calling Eastern Market “one of the nation’s premier examples of all that is great about open-air markets,” it cites photography as a market specialty and quotes Telemundo Washington correspondent Pablo Gato, a frequent market customer, "I am a journalist and I've visited more than 70 countries. I have covered wars, revolutions, all kind of natural disasters and presidential elections around the globe and, believe me, the photographers at Eastern Market are second to none."

The piece also interviews Adiante Franszoon, one of our “artist in residence” woodcarvers, who works and sells inside the Market 5 Gallery in the North Hall of Eastern Market.

Adiante, originally from "a village in the Amazon rainforest," is quoted, “Come by and watch me work. When I’m not selling, I’m carving.”

MapQuest has already reported selling out its first edition of the magazine, but states that it is still available at newsstands such as Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores.