In 1994 when the Literacy Movement at Kanyakumari district was coming to the close with the end of the Post-Literacy Campaign, the organisers who spearheaded the campaign thought of sustaining this successful, powerful movement, even without government funding. The organisers were Tamil Nadu Science Forum (TNSF), a peoples science movement (PSM), which is popularising Science since 1980, its development wing Centre for Integrated Rural development. (Now renamed as Centre for Ecology and Rural Development - CERD) After few brainstorming sessions, it was decided to mobilise poor and neo-literate Women into Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and continue the learning and empowering process. After studying different experiences in the country and abroad, guidelines were framed and circulated among literacy volunteers and learners, and then the rules were framed. After monitoring the response and getting the feed-back for few months, it was decided to form a separate organisation entirely for women under Societies Act. TamilNadu Science Forum and CERD decided to play the role of promoters and advisors. Now the federation has 1614 groups with nearly 30,000 members who have saved Rs. 27 Crores and the cumulative loan given to 29885 members has reached Rs127 Crores.
Now MALAR has a Nidhi company, Farmer Producer organisation and MALAR PEOLES STORES LIMITED OWNED BY WOMEN.
In the Silver Jubilee year of MALAR, the organization planned many activities to take MALAR to a higher pedestal. One of that is MALAR PEOPLE Store owned by MALAR women with their bad earned equity. The stores aim to provide quality products to its members as well as General Public at Competitive price. The store will also focus on promoting exclusive Quality Products Produced by women from MALAR as well as others involved in home based, tiny and cottage rural industries.