In Barcelona a group of ‘street sellers’ have started their own union, representing their community and fighting for a fair and human treatment in Barcelona. One of the projects that has emerged out of this Union is ‘Top Manta’, a clothing brand that they have set up and designed themselves. How are they doing in times of Corona, what are their struggles and what is their situation?
In 2017 Top Manta was launched by the support of a fundraiser and Playground Do. After a time of lessons on designing the project was launched with a big fashion show, featured in national media. The Top Manta brand expended and resulted into their own shop in Barcelona and legal working contracts for the sellers and designers. A story of self-empowerment, entrepreneurship and self-advocating. You watch their full story in the following video.
But the current Covid-19 measures in Barcelona do hit the community massively. As people were not allowed to go outside, many of the street sellers were left without anything to do or sell. The shop had to close and the incomes dropped. And instead they set up the store in a new way so it could be used to sew masks. Since the lockdown started, they have given 3,917 products between masks, medical hats and medical gowns. They brought the medical hats and medical gowns to the hospitals that had a huge shortage and delivered them at the most vulnerable families. Watch their video here
In addition to this, they have also created a food bank. Because of the situation, a lot of people are not able to go to work, or don’t even have one. So the manteros have been asking for contributions to buy groceries. More than 370 families, and 700 people, regardless of whether they are part of the sindicato or not, have been getting food. However, the majority of them are manteros and some refugees and families in vulnerable situations. In Barcelona they have noticed that in these times the vulnerabilities of these families are getting worse.
If you want to know more precisely about the situation of the Manteros, you can listen to the item on the Bridge Radio.