Peace Education Program Evaluation Finds ‘Paradigm Shift’ for Homeless

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The Prem Rawat Foundation's Peace Education Program was independently evaluated by the Johannesburg Department of Social Development, finding remarkable benefits for 95 percent of participants in homeless shelters.

The Peace Education Program evaluation was conducted at this shelter by the Johannesburg Department of Social Development.

The Peace Education Program proved so beneficial at shelters that the Johannesburg Department of Social Development's report concluded that it should be expanded across all sections of society.

Evaluations like this show how this powerful workshop series effectively sparks hope and inner strength even in difficult circumstances.

After designating the Peace Education Program as one of the essential services needed to help people cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Johannesburg Department of Social Development discovered glowing results. The department’s independent evaluation found that the majority of participants experienced a “paradigm shift” in their value system from anger, self-pity and low self-esteem to enhanced self-awareness, tolerance, love, inner peace, contentment and self-reliance.

The study was conducted with participants living in emergency homeless shelters due to the COVID-19 crisis, but department officials concluded that the Peace Education Program would benefit diverse groups far beyond this population. Identifying the program as a valuable tool in advancing tolerance and peaceful co-existence throughout South Africa, the evaluation calls for making the program available throughout all sections of society, especially in the public school system.

The program has already been successfully offered at a range of schools, correctional facilities, and other settings, but the evaluation recommends budgetary allocations and increased partnerships for a major expansion throughout the country to build off the existing success.

The report includes several testimonials from participants to demonstrate the personal transformation that the course empowers. “I have learned that I am the one who can change my life, and that I must not drag bad thoughts and emotions of the past to my life, and that I must not dwell on stuff I cannot control,” says one of them. Another comments, “You are a human being; I am a human being. You have every right to be alive. You respect my right; I respect your right. Who can make this a better world? We can.”

Statistical Highlights of the Peace Education Program evaluation:

  • 95% of participants reported benefits including enhanced self-awareness, tolerance, love, inner peace, contentment and self-reliance.
  • The understanding that peace was possible in participants’ lives increased from 30% to over 85%.
  • The understanding that participants have inner strengths that can help them in their lives rose from 40% to 80%.
  • The recognition of the importance of inner dignity increased from 50% to 90%.
  • The results mirror a growing body of evidence of the program’s success around the world.

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. Another analysis of 365 diverse participants in a variety of settings across the world found that the program grew the number of people who believed that feeling peace was possible in their lives from 42 percent to nearly 100 percent.

More studies will be released this year that evaluate success in additional settings, including schools.

“Thank you to the Johannesburg Department of Social Development and all of our partners who are working with us at The Prem Rawat Foundation to make this wellbeing program available to more people,” says Willow Baker, Peace Education Program Director. “Evaluations like this show how this powerful workshop series effectively sparks hope and inner strength even in difficult circumstances.”

The Peace Education Program workshops can be offered in person, virtually, or on inmate tablets by GTL and Edovo. The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) 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 in funds for COVID-19 relief projects throughout the world in the last year, including an initiative to feed parolees and other disadvantaged people in Johannesburg.

Read all of the Peace Education Program studies and learn more about The Prem Rawat Foundation.

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Jake Frankel

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