Mala gains knowledge through her work

Mala Manian grew up in an Irula village called Kolikarai, 18 kilometres from Kotagiri. Today she’s working in Last Forest’s packing section for honey and is in charge of taking orders.
– I don’t need anyone to support me.


Before I started working at Keystone I lived in my village with no work and it was difficult for me to speak with people and gain knowledge. I was in difficult condition because my family didn’t have so much income.

She started to work at Keystone after one of the former Keystone employees went to a village close to Kolikarai for work.

I talked to him and he told me that there was an opportunity for me to work at Keystone and he asked me if I was interested to join, Mala says with a big smile.

Printing and packing

Mala took the chance and has been working in the organisation since 2006. She started with packaging at Keystone and in 2010 she joined the honey section in Last Forest.

I was afraid in the beginning because it was hard to know and remember the names of the products in English. It took me some time to get involved in the work and when I did I started to enjoy it.

At Last Forest she prints the labels for the honey jars, sticks the labels and prints the codes. Mala says that her work means a lot to her and now she’s also in charge of taking the orders.

Wants to gain more knowledge

When the question about her dream job comes up she returns to the fact that she loves to learn more and interact with people.

I want to work in the green shop and meet the customers. I also want to join the water team and go to the villages and talk to people and get more knowledge about what’s happening in the villages.

At the moment Mala is also taking a nursing course and says that she has one more thing she wants to do;

I want to learn how to drive a scooter.

Supports her family

When I ask her about how her life has changed since joining the organisation she can’t stop smiling while she explains.

I can go anywhere! I feel no fear, I can do whatever I want, I can speak to more people and gain more knowledge. It’s a different world!

Her dream is to one day build a house for her self. She’s laughing when I say that she’s independent and she tells me that she is the one who supports her family. She lives with her mother and brother in the same village she grew up, and her father past away last year.

I’m the one who have to do the things for my family, I’m very happy.


Text: Jenny Svensson