Dr. Heidi talks with Sabriye Tenberken and Paul Kronenberg, founders/directors of Braille Without Borders and Kanthari.
SabriyeTenberken (German): Knowing what it is to be marginalized, she developed an intrinsic interest to create ethical social change. She studied Tibetology / Central Asian Sciences at Bonn University and to be able to take notes in Tibetan, she developed the Tibetan Braille Script. Traveling on horseback through the Himalayas in 1997, she discovered that Tibetans who in majority are Buddhists have a stigma against people with disabilities. Especially blindness is seen as a punishment for something you have done in your previous life. Accordingly blind children are often neglected, locked away in dark rooms or sent to the streets to beg for money. Experiencing this situation inspired her to take action.
in 1998, together with Paul, she started the first school for the blind in Tibet. This school formed the foundation of Braille Without Borders, an organization that empowers blind people to take their lives in their own hands. In 2005, they founded Kanthari in Kerala, South of India. Kanthari fosters participants from all over the world, who have a passion to make the world a better place and have the strength to be forces of good rather than victims of circumstance. In the daily activities, she mainly focuses on (the development of) the academic program.
Next to being a public speaker, She is the author of “My path leads to Tibet”, a book that has been translated into 16 languages. She and Paul also had the honor to take a part in the award winning documentaries ‘BLINDSIGHT’ and ‘KANTHARI – change from within”.
She became fully blind at age 12.
Paul Kronenberg (Dutch): – A leader is someone who uses his/her talents to lead the way in creating a better and more ethical tomorrow, EVERY DAY! –
He is a “Social-Changineer”. 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.
He is passionate about eco-friendly and cost effective “open hardware” technology and architecture. He is always on the lookout for answers that will help to build a better tomorrow; be it physical in terms of technical solutions, or be it mental, strengthening myself and the self of others.
Together with Sabriye, we started Kanthari. They offer a unique “Journey in five acts” Curriculum; an intense experiential and hand’s on learning experience we provide social change makers with all necessary tools to start, run and sustain own NGO’s.
In public talks, he likes to address questions like “why?” and “why not?”, and he favors the use of wit and humor to mirror the true shape of the world that makes one think and reflect about what can/must be done differently to become part of solutions.
My motto is simple: Life is what you are happy getting up for. And if you are not happy, then there is only one person that can do something about it, and that is… you.
In his life he learnt that whenever if ‘I have to’ becomes ‘I want to’, that is where the magic begins!
You are responsible for what you chose to do, but you are also responsible for what you chose NOT to do…
And that, in his opinion is where there is a huge opportunity to develop solutions to address many of the social issues we face today.
More details on: https://www.kanthari.org/about-us/founders
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/kantharis
Twitter ID: https://twitter.com/Kantharis
Sabriye Tenberken – My Path leads to Tibet
The documentary kanthari – change from within:
KANTHARI – CHANGE from WITHIN tells the stories of leaders who have been affected by social ill and because of that, took it up to start initiatives to create a positive difference in their communities. They create a Change from Within.
The film documents a journey of Sabriye Tenberken and Paul Kronenberg, founders of kanthari, a scholarship based leadership training centre in Kerala, India.
They visited graduates in East Africa, social change makers, each with a powerful personal story, a big dream, and a ground-breaking social project.
Monicah Kaguithia, daughter of a Maasai, repeatedly escaped female genital mutilation. She has developed an alternative rite of passage for girls in her community without circumcision.
Jayne Waithera is a person with albinism. She risks her life to advocate for the rights of persons with albinism in East Africa.
Stephen Onyang lost several family members due to AIDS. He now transforms the lives of HIV orphans on the banks of Lake Victoria through education.
Ojok Simon was still a child when a rebel soldier hit his head with the back of a rifle which made him loose most of his sight. He now runs a bee keeping cooperative in the rural areas of Northern Uganda.
“KANTHARI – change from within” challenges the old notion of aid to developing countries and vulnerable social groups. It sharpens the understanding of the potential of people from the margins of society by a raw, observational style of cinematography and vivid storytelling.
Six blind Tibetan teenagers, shunned by their culture as sinners or possessed by demons, band together to climb the north side of Mount Everest. With the inspiration of their fiery, blind teacher who fought to establish a Tibetan school for blind children, the teens are guided by Erik Weihenmayer, the only blind mountaineer to have successfully scaled Everest. The climbers suffer through illness, bad weather, and the stark challenge of tackling one of the greatest natural wonders on the planet.
Initial release: 21 July 2007 (Japan)
Director: Lucy Walker
With: Sabriye Tenberken, Paul Kronenberg
Initial DVD release: 31 January 2008 (Iceland)
Produced by: Sybil Robson Orr
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