MANA is a social enterprise that highlights local talents, allowing them to showcase their craft to a wider audience and bring their craft to the market.
Our current partner, Mang Jhun, learned the art of shoemaking from his parents, as their family was one of the first sapateros in Concepcion, Marikina which all started in the 1960s. At first, he would watch his mother make shoes, even if she would tell him not to meddle and finish his studies. However, once his parents passed away, he then decided to try and make a pair which awakened within him his love for shoemaking. 30 years have passed since then and he still continues to pursue his craft.
The Story So Far
Current interaction with customers is done purely on an online-basis, however MANA aims to establish a better connection with their consumers. This would not only give consumers a better outlet to see and feel the quality of the products, but also get to hear the story of Mang Jhun themselves.
MANA similarly plans to expand, partnering with more local artisans to not only create new products and add to their current catalogue, but also explore the other various crafts in the industry. Doing so will help strengthen the already present advocacy of helping local craftsmen bring the fruits of their labor into the wider market.
We at UP JMA also remain committed to doing our part in response to the challenges brought about by the global pandemic. We are actively innovating our projects, and directing their focus towards providing aid to fight against COVID-19.
Though MANA has temporarily postponed operations, we are working to create solutions to continually supporting Mang Jhun Villanueva—who is now struggling to maintain the business we helped him grow through the MANA brand. We plan to continue sustaining his family through stipends and monthly care packages containing food and other household needs.