New Agreement Expands Peace Education Program in South Africa

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The Prem Rawat Foundation and the South Africa Department of Correctional Services are working together on inmate rehabilitation.

Prem Rawat (left) and Rev. Dr. Menzi Mkhathini of the Department of Correctional Services sign an MOU to expand the Peace Education Program throughout South Africa.

Prem Rawat (left) and Rev. Dr. Menzi Mkhathini of the Department of Correctional Services sign an MOU to expand the Peace Education Program at correctional facilities throughout South Africa

The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) is partnering with the South Africa Department of Correctional Services to expand the Peace Education Program at correctional facilities throughout the country.

A new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) formalizes the partnership and builds on years of positive results with the program to help inmates rehabilitate and successfully reintegrate into society. More than 1,000 inmates have already participated in the program at Zonderwater Prison in Cullinan, South Africa, winning praise from administrators for improving behavior. “When you have peace in yourself, if you have hope, then we can start the process of restorative justice. The Peace Education Program is working in South Africa,” said Deon Du Preez, Deputy Head at Zonderwater.

The Peace Education Program workshops give participants the opportunity to focus and reflect on their own humanity, and their inner resources such as choice, hope and dignity. The workshops feature videos of Prem Rawat’s addresses and on April 15 the founder of TPRF was in Cape Town for a celebration of the MOU signing.

“The Peace Education Program works by providing a mirror, by providing an opportunity to help people find a way back to themselves,” said Prem Rawat at the gathering of leaders and supporters.

Rev. Dr. Menzi Mkhathini, who spoke on behalf of the Commissioner General of the South African Correctional Service, expressed great appreciation for the expanding partnership with TPRF.

“We have realized that, for us to be able to rehabilitate and reintegrate offenders back into the community, we have to ensure that we really reach the inner spirit of an individual. And this program exactly helps in terms of doing that,” he said. “I want to say to The Prem Rawat Foundation, continue with the stunning work that you have started to support us in correcting the offending behavior, and ensuring that those in need during this unprecedented time of COVID-19 and beyond are also assisted.”

The strengthening partnership in South Africa mirrors growing support in other countries across the world. For example, earlier this year, the Italian Ministry of Justice signed an MOU to also bring the program into widespread use at correctional facilities to help inmates reintegrate into society.

The program has already been offered at over 685 correctional facilities across the globe. A comprehensive recent study found that 89 percent of 604 incarcerated participants in four continents benefited by helping them feel empowered to face past events, gain a willingness to change, better manage their anger and avoid fighting.

The Peace Education Program also has a proven track record of benefiting diverse people outside of corrections, from other disadvantaged populations to university students.

Last year in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Department of Social Development designated the Peace Education Program as one of the essential services needed to help people cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. A subsequent study by the department found remarkable benefits for 95 percent of participants in homeless shelters, helping them experience a “paradigm shift” in their value system from anger and self-pity to enhanced tolerance, contentment and self-reliance.

In 2020 nearly 3,000 people in South Africa participated in the Peace Education Program in a range of settings, including rehabilitation and youth development centers. Total participation worldwide rose to over 44,000 people in 50 countries.

The Peace Education Program workshops can be offered in person, virtually, or on inmate tablets by GTL and Edovo (tablet versions currently available in the U.S. only). The Prem Rawat Foundation makes the workshop materials available free of charge.

The Peace Education Program is just one of the ways that TPRF advances dignity, peace and prosperity by addressing fundamental human needs.

TPRF has provided more than $300,000 for COVID-19 relief projects throughout the world in the last year, including an initiative to feed parolees and other disadvantaged people in Johannesburg.

Learn more about The Prem Rawat Foundation and the Peace Education Program here.

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Jake Frankel

Mary Wishard
The Prem Rawat Foundation TPRF
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