“It makes me happy to think how these elephants are travelling the world, and telling our stories to everyone. For us having animals around is very normal, how one would see family as. They come and go through our lands peacefully most of the time. When people look at these elephants with a sense of wonder and curiosity as to how they were created so beautifully, it is all worth the hard work that goes behind the making of these elephants. I feel proud as a part of this team, being a part of something so big and so important.”

Keethy started her career in the coffee estates, where opportunities were scarce. Seeking better prospects, she joined The Real Elephant Collective, initially working on stick cleaning. Breaking gender barriers, she became the first woman to join the Lantana Elephant making group. She vividly recalls creating her first elephant, a calf. She was very excited and took lots of photographs to commemorate the milestone. Now her six-year-old daughter, after observing her mother’s work is fascinated by elephants and does not miss any opportunity to see them. Despite personal losses, Keethy supported her family with the strength of a true matriarch. She continues to move forward, setting a powerful example for other women in the Lantana Elephant making group, and proudly leading the way.