Meet Us

At the Grassroots


Team Adichilthotti

The first thing you’d notice about this village nestled in the Edamalayar valley is the sheer bounty of its rainforests. Tree ferns bordering rocks, streams gushing in the monsoon, rich fertile soil where the native people grow coffee and pepper among other crops. The Muthuvar women are traditional bamboo weavers, and there are a few young men who are into bamboo craft. Traditionally the woven baskets are left on the wood stove attic to smoke – for protection from insects and fungus.

Ponnuthai

Reed bamboo weaver, who is also a great farmer and grandmother.

Kanakamma

Specializes in Kannadi paaya. Sits under a giant tree in a thatched structure for her weaving.

Revathi

A weaver, farmer and mother. Her kitchen floor mats are in Kannadi paaya style.

Kamalamma

Says her eyes are giving up on her, but her baskets and kannadi paaya are a visual treat.

Mallika

Finds time for weaving amidst her packed farming schedule.

Radhika

The youngest weaver in the group. Works with ease (and a sparkle in her eyes!) on her
exquisite Kannadi paaya mats.

Pushpa

No kind of reed bamboo weaving is a challenge for her. She also tends to coffee and pepper crops.

Nagamma

Dedicated reed bamboo weaver, known for her fine slivers. Also an impossible dog lover.

Sivesan

An artist in his own right, his bamboo skill is reflected in his home’s interiors.

Manikanthan

A weaver’s son, a honey harvester, and a good organizer.

Alaga

One of the youngest Kannadi paaya weaver. Charming and grounded.

Baiju

Is a sharp learner and has a way of doing things with creativity and finesse.

Chellamma

Traditional weaver with a fiercely independent spirit. Her pouches are quite popular at sales.

Team Karikkadav

Along a tributary of Karuvannur river that flows down from the Parambikulam slopes is a small community of Malayar people. They share their forest domain with the Kadar in the neighbouring village of Anapantham. The access to Karikkadav is through degraded forests interspersed with a drab rubber plantation landscape. One can still spot sambar deer and the stunning Malabar Trogon on wild trails around the village. The women’s group here is into production of beeswax soaps and rubs, herbal hair oils and wild food preserves and pickles.

Vilasani

A wonderful cook and holds the group together with her calm presence.

Sumisha

She is the bubbly younger one with a streak of mischief in her.

Beena

The silent worker, she is in charge of soap wrapping, weighing oils and so on.

Swapna Narayanan

Knows the forest really well, thanks to her ventures into the wild with her husband.

Ajitha

Another young energy in the group, always carrying a smile and willing to try new things.

Sanitha Sasi

The quieter one in the group, she has a keen eye on nature and hence knows harvest seasons well.

Bindu

A storehouse of native culinary knowledge. The group relies on her for food production planning.

Saritha Vinod

Always carries a stress-free spirit, even in times of crisis at the production unit.

Vipin Sivan

In charge of stock and production at Karikkadav village and harvest coordination at other villages. Is himself an innovative bamboo crafter.

Team Chimmony

In the fringes of Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary there is a small Malayar village. The community seems to take pride in the fresh air and clear unpolluted waters they are blessed with. Our work in Chimmony is in close partnership with the Eco Development Committee (EDC).

Ponnuthai

Reed bamboo weaver, who is also a great farmer and grandmother.

Kanakamma

Specializes in Kannadi paaya. Sits under a giant tree in a thatched structure for her weaving.

Revathi

A weaver, farmer and mother. Her kitchen floor mats are in Kannadi paaya style.

Kamalamma

Says her eyes are giving up on her, but her baskets and kannadi paaya are a visual treat.

Mallika

Finds time for weaving amidst her packed farming schedule.

Radhika

The youngest weaver in the group. Works with ease (and a sparkle in her eyes!) on her
exquisite Kannadi paaya mats.

Pushpa

No kind of reed bamboo weaving is a challenge for her. She also tends to coffee and pepper crops.

Nagamma

Dedicated reed bamboo weaver, known for her fine slivers. Also an impossible dog lover.

Sivesan

An artist in his own right, his bamboo skill is reflected in his home’s interiors.

Manikanthan

A weaver’s son, a honey harvester, and a good organizer.

Alaga

One of the youngest Kannadi paaya weaver. Charming and grounded.

Baiju

Is a sharp learner and has a way of doing things with creativity and finesse.

Chellamma

Traditional weaver with a fiercely independent spirit. Her pouches are quite popular at sales.

Team Karikkadav

Along a tributary of Karuvannur river that flows down from the Parambikulam slopes is a small community of Malayar people. They share their forest domain with the Kadar in the neighbouring village of Anapantham. The access to Karikkadav is through degraded forests interspersed with a drab rubber plantation landscape. One can still spot sambar deer and the stunning Malabar Trogon on wild trails around the village. The women’s group here is into production of beeswax soaps and rubs, herbal hair oils and wild food preserves and pickles.

Vilasani

A wonderful cook and holds the group together with her calm presence.

Sumisha

She is the bubbly younger one with a streak of mischief in her.

Beena

The silent worker, she is in charge of soap wrapping, weighing oils and so on.

Swapna Narayanan

Knows the forest really well, thanks to her ventures into the wild with her husband.

Ajitha

Another young energy in the group, always carrying a smile and willing to try new things.

Sanitha Sasi

The quieter one in the group, she has a keen eye on nature and hence knows harvest seasons well.

Bindu

A storehouse of native culinary knowledge. The group relies on her for food production planning.

Saritha Vinod

Always carries a stress-free spirit, even in times of crisis at the production unit.

Vipin Sivan

In charge of stock and production at Karikkadav village and harvest coordination at other villages. Is himself an innovative bamboo crafter.

Team Chimmony

In the fringes of Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary there is a small Malayar village. The community seems to take pride in the fresh air and clear unpolluted waters they are blessed with. Our work in Chimmony is in close partnership with the Eco Development Committee.

Sheeba

A patient and dedicated worker, has a calming presence.

Shobhana

Binds the team with her warm, generous spirit and keeps an eye on overall production.

Kshamavathi

Knows the forest quite well and is the bold yet friendly matron figure.

Anapantham village

Apart from Vazhachal, this is our only project village inhabited by the Kadar people. The Kadars were called Kings of the Forest by the British for good reason. Such ease with which they carry themselves in the wilderness and an almost nomadic and zero-materialistic lifestyle. The tailoring and macrame trainings for young women in Anapantham rewarded us with two bright stars. Both are young mothers and spend summer months deep inside forests, gathering forest produce.

Sujatha

Is in tune with the seasonal MFP harvests, and has refined tailoring skills.

Maya

Enjoys macrame as much as going into the forest with her family on wild forages.

Founder & Partner


Dr. Manju Vasudevan

FOUNDER

An ecologist by training, now works on community-led forest conservation. Is passionate about everything that’s handmade.

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Dr. Sreeja KG

PARTNER

Agricultural economist and poet at heart, her research addresses climate change and resilience in smallholder producer economies.

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