Market of Hope

Local women connecting consumers with fair-trade finds

Abby Pound returned from a mission trip to Cambodia stirred up to do something unconventional for her fellow humans. But she has family and a good job in Round Rock. So instead of relocating, she and coworker Ashley Ruhl decided to help from home by buying and reselling products from ministries that employee people who are at a disadvantage concerning job opportunities. They call it Market of Hope. This bazaar-like event builds a bridge to bring fair-trade products from around the world to supportive consumers in central Texas.

Their first market was in downtown Round Rock in November 2013. Ministries and nonprofits shipped jewelry, coffee, leather-bound journals, and other items; and Abby, Ashley, and a team of volunteers sold them on their behalf. They sold $18,000 of products.

The volunteers helping Abby and Ashley begged for more festivals. With a lot of help, they turned Market of Hope into a nonprofit that operates several markets and mini-markets year-round.

Market of Hope founders Abby Pound and Ashley Ruhl

In the middle of this process, Abby returned to Africa in 2015 to visit one of their vendors in Uganda. This refugee camp provides shelter, support, and work for women whose homes and families were ravaged during the nation’s civil war. The visit “made me really stand behind what we’re doing,” Abby explains, “because I’ve seen firsthand how what we’re doing is changing lives.”

To find out when the next market takes place or to read about the vendors, visit Market of Hope’s website.

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