As the summer heats up, so does the giving spirit in the air. Volunteers at the Istanbul&I Summer Flea Market saw this firsthand. An event held over three days (Friday through Sunday), brought out many people from all around the community. The market hosted many items for purchase and was overall a great success. A large portion of the proceeds went to the Mor Çatı Women’s Shelter, a collaborator of Istanbul&I that has also been present at previous events. While it is hard to keep track of how many attendees came through the doors, it is safe to say the event was a hit with the community. Whether they were friends of volunteers or had seen the sign outside the building, the floor space always had attendees browsing and chatting.
There were many items for sale throughout the three-day event. These included second-hand clothes, hand-made arts and crafts, and books in the four languages of English, Turkish, Farsi, and even Greek. T-shirts, coats, bags, and dresses neatly folded and placed on wooden pallets underscored the DIY nature of the event and what a youth-led NGO is all about. Attendees browsed around the store in a lively atmosphere. At times, there would be live music playing outside at a nearby cafe, and at other times, the scene was scored by volunteer-spun pop playlists of eclectic tunes. Snacks were also offered at the checkout, as many folks bought something for themselves, or their friends. Everyone shared in the spirit of giving. Another visible fixture of the event, the artists’ table garnered many compliments from attendees. Arts and crafts such as embroidered pieces by Aylin Güler (who also spearheaded the event), oil paintings by Mohamed Mansour, wooden jewelry by Ezgi Sesil Coşkun, crochets by Nada Mansour, and necklaces by Noor Bhaghani.
As a whole, the event gave off a sense of love and care for the community surrounding Istanbul&I. Attendees getting greeted at the door with smiles, veteran volunteers showing up to lend a helping hand, and others handing out fliers outside to boost the event. Some attendees were even asking about how they can donate to support the continuation of such events in the future. As a whole it was a beautiful scene displaying what Istanbul&I is all about. Inclusivity and making a positive impact in the community.