Kanthari international

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Coordinates: 8°26′19.51″N 76°59′32″E / 8.4387528°N 76.99222°E / 8.4387528; 76.99222

A view of the campus office from the front entrance
International Institute for Social Entrepreneurs (IISE)
Founded 2007
Founder Sabriye Tenberken, Paul Kronenberg
Type Professional Organization
Focus Leadership Training
Origins Braille Without Borders
Area served
Slogan "Social Change Through Innovation"
Website www.bwb-iise.org

kanthari international is an educational and training institute at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India. It was co-founded by Sabriye Tenberken and Paul Kronenberg in 2007, with the first members jointing in 2009, as an extension of their pioneering project Braille without borders.[1] The not-for-profit institute aims to identify and train persons who have had to face adverse social conditions including physical disabilities, poverty, war strife . Its original official name was "International Institute for Social Entrepreneurship". However, to avoid the common notion of monetary gains with the usage of word 'entrepreneurship', the founders are renaming the project as kanthari international. The initial lower case letters used in the name are intentionally kept as a symbol of their ideology.

kanthari, the word[edit]

'kanthari' (Malayalam: കാന്താരി) is the name of a pepper chilly that is indigenous to the land of Kerala state, India. Kanthari is known for its extreme hotness despite the small size. According to Sabriye, the head of the institute, the spice is very representative of the 'small' people who in fact, with the right motivation and preparation, can bring in a drastic and innovative change within the society.[citation needed]

As a symbol of the institute's deterrence to prejudices and normally accepted conventions, kanthari international is spelt and written with all letters in lowercase.


Sabriye Tenberken[edit]

Sabriye Tenberken, (German) became blind at the age of 12. Due to her interest in development work she studied Central Asian Sciences at Bonn University focusing on Tibetology, philosophy and sociology. In order to be able to read and write Tibetan texts she developed the Tibetan Braille Script.[2]

Paul Kronenberg[edit]

Paul Kronenberg (Dutch) has worked for various international Non Governmental Organisations in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. He completed his studies in the areas of mechanical engineering, computer science, commercial technology and communication system science.[2]


The IISE addresses to people that have overcome significant life challenges ranging from vision impairment, disability, poverty, war, discrimination and exploitation in order to help them in setting up their own social project. It trains its participants in skills like management, public speaking, communication, leadership, fund raising, budgeting, bookkeeping, marketing and computer usage.[3] The program takes 11 months.

Impact of kanthari[edit]

Jane Waithera is from Kenya. Jane is a person living with Albinism{Albinism is a defect of melanin production that results in little or no color (pigment) in the skin, hair, and eyes}. This means that she lacks melanin and her skin is white. In East Africa it is believed that possessing a body part of an Albino brings good luck. Therefore Albinos are killed and their body parts sold for lots of money. Jane is a 2009 kanthari graduate Since her return home she has been fighting for the rights of Albinos. Over the past 5 years we trained 98 participants from 35 countries. The graduates have started over 65 projects and initiatives and reach thousands of beneficiaries.[4]


The institute is located at a campus near the village Vellayani, close to Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala state. It consists of several eco-friendly buildings. [according to whom?][citation needed]


"True Vision". Times of India. 2010-11-20. 

External links[edit]