De La Salle and College of St. Benilde siblings help their hometown
At the onset of the pandemic, Manila-based sisters Alyssa Sahali Tan, 21, and Dayang Iman Sahali, 23, rushed to their hometown in Tawi-Tawi, in the municipality of Panglima Sugala, to help their communities.
They launched MANGAN by Iman, a social enterprise aiming to change perceptions of the region. The concepts were grounded on inclusive development, transparency, sustainability, sociality and innovation, which the sisters learned from their college courses. “By bringing these learnings down to the grassroots, my sister and I have established a social enterprise that hoped to alleviate neighborhoods,” she added.
Mangan means “to eat” in Kapampangan and Sinama languages, while Iman – faith in Arabic –has been named after the elder sister. Juana’s Delight Seaweed Chips – termed in honor of their maternal grandmother – is their first product. Sourced from domestic farmers in Barangay Tongbangkaw, the harvest is processed by a team of mothers-housewives. Once done, the final product is brought to the Zamboanga City headquarters for marketing and distribution.
“Our common ground is food – it is like a thread that connects Filipinos,” Alyssa noted. “It is something all of us enjoy – despite differences in origin, heritage, and religion. We want to equip our farmers with the right tools, so they can further their livelihood through sustainable means. This may give them opportunities and credits since they are the back bone of our economy. They feed us and ensure our food security – the nation’s health,” Alyssa said.
“This program likewise exemplifies women economic empowerment.” Dayang, an Accountancy and Philosophy major from the De La Salle University, is the main decision-maker. Alyssa, a Consular and Diplomatic Affairs student from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde School of Diplomacy and Governance, is in charge of branding and external affairs. Friends from college, Chelsea Catli handles conceptualization, while Christine Aspra takes care of creatives.
MANGAN by Iman lives up to its mission to place community development first before profit. A generous amount of the sales of Juana’s Delight is allotted to provide monetary assistance and school supplies for the indigenous children, especially the Badjao students in Panglima Sugala Sailing Boat School.
“My sister and I hope to break barriers, change perceptions and continue to dream not only for ourselves,” Alyssa stressed. “Wishfully, in the long run, we can expand our enterprise to other municipalities and even perhaps neighboring provinces like Sulu and Basilan.” Juana’s Delight accepts nationwide orders through the official Facebook and Instagram channels of MANGAN by Iman. For inquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org.