Paul Kronenberg is the co-founder and co-director of kanthari, an immersive training program that equips participants who have overcome adversity with the techniques, methods, and ideas needed to start up and run effective, relevant social projects all over the world.

TPP works closely with Paul, and we’re excited to announce that kanthari is now accepting applications for its next 12-month, scholarship-based leadership training program starting in May 2020!

In light of this exciting news, we recently caught up with Paul to hear more about his work and plans for kanthari’s future.

For privacy reasons YouTube needs your permission to be loaded. For more details, please see our Privacy Policy & Terms.
I Accept

Q: Why is kanthari important to you?

Paul Kronenberg (PK): Turning on the news at night, the news anchors start with “Good Evening”… In the next 10 to 20 minutes you are asking yourself… Is it really a ‘good evening’?

And after the news is finished, do you see people jumping into action to do something about what they have just seen? Unfortunately, not many do. Why? Because they are distracted by Hollywood, Bollywood and Advertisement.

Luckily though, there are people who had enough and because of that, they stand up and kick into action.

We call such a changemaker a “kanthari.”

A kanthari is also the name for an extremely spicy chili. Actually, one of the spiciest in the world. A chili that has medicinal qualities. And that is what the world needs, a bit of spice but at the same time some healing, too.

Q: What inspired you to start kanthari?

PK: In 1997, I met Sabriye Tenberken in Tibet. Sabriye, who is blind, developed the Tibetan Braille Script and was in Tibet to explore how she could start the first school for the blind. About one year later, Sabriye called me up to announce that she was going to start. I decided to join her in this journey and quit my job the next day.

Five days later we were back in Tibet. We worked in Tibet for 19 years, starting the first preparatory school for the blind, a vocational training center for the blind, a Braille Printing Press, and a proactive or self-integration program.

Our training center was a place where the students gained skills and confidence so they were able to integrate themselves pro-actively into regular schools, colleges and universities, or they would integrate themselves in society either by being employed, self-employed, or becoming an employer.

We knew that we would not be able to be in Tibet for the rest of our lives, so we looked for leadership training centers where our students could learn how to run an organization so they could take over our positions.

When we didn’t find any courses that would take students who did not have any specific degrees, we decided to start our own leadership training center. And that is how the idea to start kanthari was born. In 2006, we started the construction of a green and eco-friendly campus in Kerala, South India. And in 2009 we welcomed the first kanthari participants.

Q: What impact have you seen kanthari make?

PK: At kanthari we equip people who have overcome adversity with skills that are needed to start and run social initiatives and organizations. We select participants who have gone through some form of hardship and because of that, are driven to start own social initiatives. They have the power to stand up instead of becoming victims of circumstance.

One of the many people that were trained at kanthari is Jayne Waitera. Jayne is a person with Albinism and she comes from Kenya. In East Africa there is a belief that people with Albinism carry special powers and because of that are at risk to be killed. Apparently their body parts bring good luck. Jayne is an activist who is fighting for the rights of people with Albinism.

For privacy reasons YouTube needs your permission to be loaded. For more details, please see our Privacy Policy & Terms.
I Accept

When we visited her in Kenya five years after she graduated from kanthari, we met with her beneficiaries. Here a video that shows Jayne and some of her beneficiaries.

It is people like Jayne who are creating a “Change from Within”… And that is where every bit of change starts. She, however, not only changed from within herself, but being part of her own target group, created a change from within her own community, positively impacting the lives of hundreds of people and the society at large.

Over the past ten years we have trained 206 participants from 45 countries. This has resulted in 130+ organizations that, on a daily basis, are positively impacting the lives of thousands of people who are situated on the margins of society.

Our graduates are covering all kind of social matters ranging from alternative education, human rights, environment, peace building, disability, discrimination, equality, etc.
We are very pleased to be in a position where we can work with these changemakers that are making the difference that so many people have been and are looking for.

Q: What are your hopes for the future of the project?

PK: We hope to be continuing the work we do here with our team until we are old.
To do so, of course, we hope that many more people like Jayne find kanthari and apply for the 12-month kanthari course. It is a 12-month scholarship-based leadership training course. 7 months in India and 5 months at the location where the impact needs to be made.
The next course starts in May 2020 and the selection process is already ongoing. For anyone who wishes to apply, please go to www.kanthari.org, go through the Frequently Asked Questions page to get to know what it is all about (and not about) and then if you think that this is the place to be, don’t wait, just apply…

Q: Anything else you’d like to share?

PK: There is a saying that ‘you are responsible for actions you chose to do, but you are also responsible for actions you chose NOT to do’. And in this last part, that is where the cause of many social problems in the world can be traced back to. We are all responsible, and the good news is that each one of us can make a difference. And if someone says you can’t, well just tell them to bite into a kanthari, and they will understand that a small chili can make a HUGE difference!

To apply for kanthari’s 12-month, scholarship-based leadership program, visit https://www.kanthari.org/about-us/kanthari-at-a-glance/ .

Paul Kronenberg is a “Social-Change-Engineer.” With a technical background graduating in mechanical engineering, computer science, commercial technology and data-communication system science, he focuses on the running and operational management of kanthari.

Sabriye Tenberken, coming from the margins of society, developed an intrinsic interest to create ethical social change. She studied Tibetology/ Central Asian Sciences at Bonn University. AFter founding the first school for the blind in Tibet, Tenberken cofounded kanthari in 2005.

Paul and Sabriye have developed the unique kanthari “Journey in Five Acts” Curriculum; an intense experiential and hands-on learning experience that provides social change makers with necessary tools to start and run own social ventures. kanthari includes participants from all over the world, who have a passion to make the world a better place and the strength to be forces of good rather than victims of circumstance.

To apply for kanthari’s 12-month, scholarship-based leadership program, visit: https://www.kanthari.org/about-us/kanthari-at-a-glance/ 

Paul Kronenberg is a “Social-Change-Engineer.” With a technical background graduating in mechanical engineering, computer science, commercial technology and data-communication system science, he focuses on the running and operational management of kanthari.

Sabriye Tenberken, coming from the margins of society, developed an intrinsic interest to create ethical social change. She studied Tibetology/ Central Asian Sciences at Bonn University. AFter founding the first school for the blind in Tibet, Tenberken cofounded kanthari in 2005.

Paul and Sabriye have developed the unique kanthari “Journey in Five Acts” Curriculum; an intense experiential and hands-on learning experience that provides social change makers with necessary tools to start and run own social ventures. kanthari includes participants from all over the world, who have a passion to make the world a better place and the strength to be forces of good rather than victims of circumstance.

Read More of Seeds, Our Blog

Become Part of the Pollination Project Family

Become part of a unique movement to find and support grassroots leaders who share a common vision for a more just and compassionate world.

Donate

Do you have a project working to address the inequities in the world?
Apply for a $1,000 seed grant and let us help you succeed.

Apply Here