Quarterly newsletter 1-2016

The first three months of 2016 are over and therefore it is time for the first quarterly newsletter. Pls find below the highlights and some updates on kanthari graduates’ projects.


In December 24 kanthari participants returned home to start up their social initiatives and projects. Finding board members, creating constitutions, getting registered, realizing an office space, reaching out to the target group, getting training programs started and very important, raising funds are all not easy tasks. Because of this, kanthari provides a start-up stipend and mentorship support. Besides many challenges several participants have managed to get registered and started daily activities that benefit their target groups immensely. Abhijit started a few maker spaces in India, Emmanuel is working hard to realize a cleaner Mombasa in Kenya and Robert is providing computer, communication and daily living training for blind people in Zimbabwe.


The next kanthari leadership training course will start in May 2016. Every year we receive several hundred applications from potential participants from all over the world. For the upcoming course we received app 200 applications from 39 countries. Since the measurement of success is not the amount of people we train but the amount of participants who start projects, a strict selection process has been put in place. To focus on quality, it is planned to start this year’s course with app 25 participants.

annual review

In January the annual review meeting was held. The academic team did a thorough review of the Curriculum which resulted in a few adaptations. As some of the participants might not be a direct part of their target group, they are not yet so called “subject matter experts”. In order to reach this level, one of the changes in the Curriculum will be that the internship will be replaced with an exposure period during which multiple organisations in India that deal with their specific target group will be visited. This year also members of the admin team joined the annual review meeting. This was very fruitful as more understanding about and for the work of both departments was created.

Maintenance and construction

During the first three months of 2016 several maintenance activities were initiated and completed. The rainwater harvesting system got special filters that make sure that the water that is harvested is as clean as possible. A duck and fish farming pond was created. The roof of the office block was tiled with colored broken tiles. The leaking Ducts on the kitchen roof were repaired. New notice boards were placed in several locations and maintenance on the anti-ant water channels will prevent ants from entering our buildings. The campus is now ready for the eighth generation.

MAD summer camp:

Make A Difference (MAD) is an organization that supports children from shelter homes that either are orphans or who have a single parent who is not capable to take care of his/her child.
Like in 2015 also this year a Summer Camps were held at the kanthari campus.
140 girls from three different shelter homes in Trivandrum had a great time during the last weekend of January. And 80 boys enjoyed their summer camp in the beginning of Marchh. The volunteers of MAD have done a great job organizing a full action program for these children including games, plays, music and dance activities! Charu and Babu our 2 campus dogs are not really fond of children and usually during these days hide under our office desks.

kanthari graduates

In order to learn more about the impact of kanthari graduates we wish to share some updates about already established initiatives;

India:  2012 kanthari Khartik runs Sristi Village.  Karthik has a vision to realize an inclusive society where children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities are respected, valued and have choices to lead a holistic and dignified life together. We visited Karthik last February and were surprised how much he was able to realize in just 2 and a half years. The village is already visible. His work is known in the whole region. Therefore hundreds of visitors from all around the world came for his wedding to honor Kartik and his dream. Read an inspiring article about his work here

Nepal: Blind Rocks! France! 2012 ‪kanthari, Sristi KC conducted the first BlindRocks! interactive-exchange program on French soil in Clermont-Ferrand in collaboration with AVH, France. The program included a presentation of Blind Rocks, Sristi’s solo dance performance and ended with a group performance together with blind and sighted participants! More about Sristi’s work here

Thailand:  2009 ‪‎kanthari Yoshimi Horiuchi and her team of Always Reading Caravan is one step closer to their dream. Their newly acquired book-mobile donated by Asahi company will be launched soon. The vehicle will enable a safer and more relevant outreach in the tribal communities of hilly Northern Thailand where children are in great need of learning materials and books. More details here

Liberia: In the capital of Liberia, Monrovia, Echo-Community Radio Program aims to give people with a disability a voice. Located on 12th Street, Sinkor, Monrovia the radio program has been broadcasted on air by 2011 ‪‎kanthari Nelson Kardor. Learn more about his work here

Kenya: Oh happy day! On the 6th of February 2016 the first Albert Schweitzer School in Kenya has been inaugurated. Initially the school was planned for 80 orphans and partial orphans from 4-8 years who have lost their parents due to AIDS. Two days after opening, the amount of students doubled to 160! Steven Onyang, 2013 ‪k‎anthari participant and his wife Rosemary built up the school with the support of the Foundation Lambarene-Hospital and with the help of Jo, Walter and Andrea Munz. Dr. Walter and his wife Jo were the direct successors of Albert Schweizer in Lamberene.

India: KR Raja; K R RAJA Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu. K R Raja, who became disabled due to polio, has found an unusual calling in life. His organization Global Network for Equality works to support the children of prisoners serving their time as life prisoners for homicide against their spouses. He believes that such children are left with no childhood to speak of, and therefore there is an imperative need for them to receive educational and all other support from society. Raja was honoured with CavinKare Ability Award for Eminence 2016.

kanthari in the media:

Over the past few months several articles were published about kanthari, here a selection:
– An article about kanthari’s architecture Unbind
– An article was published on the Forbes website
– An article about kanthari was published in the Deccan Chronicle
– We are always looking for potential kanthari applicants. Here an article published by intrepid
– Radio: Listen to an interview on Radio Vatican



The renowned Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam invited kanthari founders sabriye tenberken and paul kronenberg to give a special lecture about “social leadership from the margins of society”.
– On women’s day we spoke at the Voices of Faith event that was organized by the Fidel Goetz Foundation at the Vatican, watch the video video.
– We gave two separate TEDx talks at TEDxYouthMAASTRICHT on the 12th of March
– Book readings about `die Traumwerkstatt von Kerala, Die welt veraendern – das kann man lernen` (freely translated: the dream workshop of Kerala, changing the world – that’s something you can learn’) were presented in Zurich, Basel, Steinmaur (Switzerland), Hochheim and Offenbach (Germany)


the documentary “kanthari: change from within” was awarded with the Dodie Spittal award at the 15th Picture This Film Festival in Calgary. Here is the Jury’s opinion: “Powerful and emotional, beautiful cinematography and dynamic editing. The jury felt that this film was a perfect example of making a significant contribution to the disability community. As the title so aptly says, this film profiles the best kind of change: change from within. It shows people with disabilities working in their communities to change attitudes and to make a real difference in people’s lives. It gives us hope for a better future and is simply a beautiful film!”. Watch the trailer here.

Dear Friends,
on behalf of all our participants we wish to say thank you for your ongoing support.
Thank you also for helping us by sharing this newsletter.
With very best regards,
the entire kanthari team, paul and sabriye

You can find a PDF version of this newsletter with more pictures at;



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