Mannan Tribal Village

Kozhimala - Western Ghat Mountains
Kerala, South India

House Building, Medical & Sanitation Projects


The inhabitants of the Mannan tribe are indigenous to the area which is now the Periyar Tiger Reserve. When the reserve was established in the 1960s, the tribe asked to leave the forest and were relocated to the reserve’s outskirts. About 85 families of the tribe along with the Mannan Tribe King now live in an area called Kozhimala in the Idduki District. Kozhimala is a little village settlement in the Western Ghat mountain ranges around two hours drive from the towns of Kumily & Thekkady town. This project site is about 6 hours drive from Kochi.

About the Project

This project was brought to the attention of Yearoutindia through volunteers working at the nearby Tiger Reserve. Sasi, a mannan tribal and forest guard who works with the tribal heritage eco-development committee at the reserve took one of our volunteers to see his house and village. The tribal settlement was 2 hours drive from the reserve and situated on the edge of the reserve forest amongst the mountains. The general living conditions were very basic. Sasi's family were in desperate need of a house. Shocked by the living conditions of the families in the settlement, our volunteers (Gill - London, Matt - Sheffield, Lauren - Boston, Malin - Sweden and Kevin - Wisconsin) helped create a community development program for the Mannan tribe. After discussions with the Mannan king and elders, Yearoutindia volunteers were able to create a detailed long-term sustainable development program for the settlement. This included plans to build new houses, sanitation facilities, drinking water wells and medical help with the help of volunteer funds.
In 2006, two dedicated volunteers (Thomas - Germany and Devin - New York) took part in the first house building project for 8-12 weeks till completion. Along with Yearoutindia funds, their fees, donation and fundraising, the house building project was started. The village settlement and almost all tribals were very enthusiastic and many joined hands with the volunteers in completing the house. The Mannan tribe King also visited the house building site at various stages and was very supportive of the project making sure our volunteers were comfortable and had every assistance they needed. The house was completed successfully and is by far the best house in the whole of the settlement.

While the first house was being built, volunteers and Yearoutindia staff noticed that the settlement lacked basic sanitation facilities in general and that the only water pumping system was abandoned due to lack of funds for repairs and maintenance. Yearoutindia was able to contribute towards repairing the water pump and some of the broken water pipelines. Seeing the lack of sanitation facilities Yearoutindia and onsite volunteers compiled a priority list of families within the Mannan settlement for whom to build for. The original list comprised of many families who desperately needed houses, 72 families who had none or inadequate sanitation facilities; in most cases used outdoor temporary shacks and open ground.

Volunteers from all over the world have been working very hard on this project since 2006 and within the last two years, 80 homes now have clean and well structured toilets with washing areas.Our previous volunteers (Harriet & Max from London) completely renovated the Tribal Nursery in the settlement and also build a new toilet block for the 34 nursery children. This along with the teaching aids they provided has completely transformed this dilapidated little building into a bright, clean and safe place for the children who come to this nursery. The nursery also provides free mid day meals every day for which YOI provided kitchen utensils and cookers. More tribal children are now attending this nursery.

The village local govt officers and elders are very enthusiastic towards this initiative and many work whenever they can to support the efforts of volunteers and labourers on site. Yearoutindia and its volunteers have built up strong relationships with the tribal communities and volunteers share Sasi's/ Manoj & Anil completed house with his family during their placement and also can now stay in the completed Eco House. This also provides a source of much needed additional income to many tribal women. There are at least 4-6 ongoing house building projects and our recent volunteers Alice & Alastair from UK just completed another sanitation project. Stephanie from US helped with the Eco house and Shyam from London is currently working on house builds, renovations, sanitation projects, water and solar light projects.

Micro Credit & Youth employment initiatives

Yearoutindia volunteers have also helped develop and implement various small micro credit / loan project to enable the tribal youth to take on group community farming, water pumping and distribution, communal goat farming and implement a new brick making units. Thanks to Michelle - our intern from Canada, we have been able to successfully implement and manage these projects. Various new project including Solar lights, bore wells and health awareness are planned for the coming months.

Following the success of this sanitation project, locals from the nearby mannan village settlement of "Murikattukudi" approached Yearoutindia to extend the program to their settlement. Following a series of successful meetings between Yearoutindia staff, volunteers, local community leaders, Mannan Tribal King, Kozhimala labourers and local villagers this was agreed. As a result the priority list of families in desperate need of adequate sanitation facilities has more than doubled.

Yearoutindia now also work alongside local healthcare officials through volunteers with medical backgrounds and provide medical care to the mannan tribals. Yearoutindia also plans to build a small clinic for the inhabitants of Kozhimala vilage. This project was designed in conjunction wih the villagers following a research conducted by Bryan Shaw - a Yearoutindia volunteer from the US. The medical volunteers will provide much needed diagnosis and preventative treatment to meet the health needs of the village. It will also promote awareness of health issues amongst the locals and their children.

Click on the links below to find out about the various volunteer projects at the Mannan Tribal Village

This is a challenging project site which require volunteers to be resourceful, committed, self motivated and will definitely involve long hours of work with plenty of excitement and fun. Please note that the project area is remote and basic facilities will be provided by Yearoutindia. Amenities like Internet, ATM's, Fax etc are only available at the nearest town which is 30 minutes drive away.

Program Costs

Prices for individual programs vary. Please click on the links above for a full description or contact a volunteer coordinator.