Manos Unidas is a cooperative for adults with disabilities in San Juan del Sur. The program was founded by Bastin Vrancken and Brooke Rundle and currently funded by donations received through the Casa Llanta Fund. The cooperative meets on weekdays in the San Juan del Sur library to congregate, learn and produce products. Manos Unidas translates to “hands together” which signifies the culture of teamwork and togetherness within the cooperative.
To foster friendships, individual independence and improve the quality of life for people with disabilities through the making and selling of goods produced solely by the members of the cooperative.
Manos Unidas started with the making of handmade silk flowers and has evolved into the production of fashionable tote bags made from re-purposed rice bags and woven jewelry from repurposed clothing. All materials are sourced in Nicaragua and each bag is hand crafted by the individual named on the bag tag. Wherever possible we strive to use recycled materials for creating products. Every step of the production process be done by the hands of the students within the cooperative and that the quality of the products is not compromised by the disabilities of the people within cooperative.
100% of all proceeds from the sale of bags made by Manos Unidas go directly to the payment of student participant bi-monthly salary payments. By purchasing the products, you are providing a job for the members of the cooperative and contributing to the improvement of their livelihood.
We feel strongly committed to our mission and believe that the members of the cooperative are extremely artistic and capable of creating quality and stylish products. It is our hope that people buy the bags for the artistic beauty and intrinsic love, rather than out of sympathy.