LOS ANGELES, Dec. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In late November 380 inmates, mostly from the maximum-security unit of Zonderwater Prison in South Africa, gathered to hear Prem Rawat speak about peace. These men had been participating in a Peace Education Program (PEP), designed by Prem Rawat and produced by The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF), to help people discover their inner strengths and resources. Mr. Rawat came to speak at Zonderwater for the second time after a heartfelt invitation from the PEP students and prison officials.
The PEP series of 10 multimedia classes had developed a track record of shifting the attitudes and behavior of inmates participating in the course over the last five years. According to individual inmates and staff members, the change observed has been long lasting, even for those who have been released.
After the event one inmate expressed, "This program has changed my life. Happiness, freedom, kindness—I did not know how to feel them. I did not know where to find peace. Solitude and melancholy were destroying me. Today I have clarity."
One warden commented, "Many events happen at Zonderwater, and they put a smile on the offenders' faces for a while. But what happened today will stay with them forever."
The next day over 450 residents of the massive metropolis of Soweto in the Gauteng province of Johannesburg, had their own opportunity to listen to Prem Rawat speak in person. Most of them had either participated in a PEP course or were interested in doing so. The event was arranged at the invitation of the City of Johannesburg, Department of Social Development.
Bordering Johannesburg, Soweto is the most populous black residential area in South Africa, one of the richest in history and economic diversity and home of leaders like Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, sports stars and musicians. Known for its sense of community, life is still a struggle with little hope for those most affected by high unemployment and scant opportunity.
PEP was recently introduced in Soweto at the behest of Ernest Leketi, head of Youth Development for Johannesburg's Department of Social Development. Because of the impact of PEP on community members, the City of Johannesburg has offered to sponsor 10 new PEP programs in 2015, providing not only the course materials but televisions and DVD players to implement them.
Speaking about the effect of PEP, Ernest says, "You'll find young people who are graduates, who don't find work. So they become so frustrated that they develop anger within themselves. The Peace Education Program assisted them, giving them hope, helping them appreciate themselves and helping them to identify the other talents they have." He expects the program to spread like wildfire in the coming year.
About The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF)
Founded in 2001, The Prem Rawat Foundation strives to address the fundamental human needs of food, water and peace so that people can live with dignity, peace and prosperity. For more information, visit: www.tprf.org.
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SOURCE The Prem Rawat Foundation