Kerala is a coastal state in the south of India. Adjacent to Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, the predominant language, Malayalam, bears striking similarities to other south-Indian languages. A tourist haven, Kerala is known for its sultry weather, beaches, diverse terrain and all forms of flora and fauna, among a plethora of wildlife. This green state, often marketed with the byline "God's own country," boasts of locations such as Kovalam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Idukki.
Kerala is home to a population of approximately three crores, with a minority language population of approximately five lakhs. The overall literacy rate is among the highest in India, with a rate of 75% among minority language communities. A disparity of 9% amongst the sexes exists, with males more likely to be literate.
Nirmaan works with seven marginalised language communities in the state, empowering them through a number of projects.
The Mannan number roughly ten thousand individuals, and typically make their home in Idukki district, in central Kerala. The overall Literacy rate stands at 50%. Although the Mannan are most comfortable in their own language, all education is undertaken in the state language - Malayalam.
The Mannan typically make their income through agriculture, and employ traditional methods. Common crops include Tapioca, Cardamom, Pepper, Rice and Cocoa. Besides agriculture, the Mannan also find work as daily labourers across the Idukki district.
The Ravula number roughly fourteen thousand, and make their home in the northern hill regions of Kerala. More commonly addressed by outsiders as 'Adiyan,' meaning 'service class,' with a negative connotation. Historically condemned as 'serfs,' the Ravula have a a low literacy rate. Education is accessible to them in Malayalam and Kannada.
Historically, the Ravula have tilled the land, a practice which is more or less in place even today, for the few Ravula that own land. They are able to secure loans from money lenders for their cultivation, for which they use partially modern methods.
They are known as landless community and work as labourers. About 90% of them work for daily wages. Only about 10% of people have their own land to cultivate. Other sources of income include daily wage jobs both within and outside their community.
Language development through literacy and dictionary development is progressing. In addition, a project for helping the community to develop their capacity for house construction is also progressing.
The Muthuvan number approximately fifteen thousand, and make their home in the forests of Idukki district in central Kerala. The Tamil speaking Muthuvan community is called Mele Muthuvan. The Muthuvan have comparatively low education rates, with the male literacy rate standing at 52%, and the female literacy rate at a paltry 25%. Although they most commonly communicate in Muthuvan, education is typically undertaken in Malayalam.
The Mele Muthuvan typically find their sustenance by cultivating the land. Using traditional methods, they grow the crops such as Tapioca, Rice, Cocoa, Cardamom and Pepper. Besides this, they forage the forest around them. Few find work as daily labourers in their region.
The Paniya number approximately eighty-eight thousand individuals, and make their home in Wayanad district of north-east Kerala. The Literacy rate is lower than 25%. Although they most commonly communicate in Paniya, education is typically undertaken in Malayalam.
The Paniya are originally an agricultural community, but now since they do not own their own land, they no longer engage in agriculture. They now find work as daily labourers in the surrounding region.
Nirmaan undertakes the language development through conducting mother tongue literacy programmes.