Until 1994, if you were a black man growing up under South Africa’s apartheid era (official government policy of racial segregation), you would not have the right to vote, to a decent education or health services. You could be living in a cramped room with your extended family, in a squatter camp, or out on the street—an easy prey to gangs, where guns, drugs, and alcohol are readily available. Chances are by 18 you’d have become a drug addict, have AIDS, or be in prison.
Three years ago, inspired by TPRF’s successful prison program, two women started workshops in Zonderwater (which means “without water”), a maximum-security prison, bringing Prem Rawat’s message of peace and hope.
Today there is a team of 10 volunteers, who use TPRF printed and video materials for the 12-week course.
Of the 260 inmates who have attended the workshops, 12 have received Prem Rawat’s gift of peace and assist in the workshops for more than 100 people. They have also been given special permission by the head of the correctional facility, Mr. Deon du Preez, to hold an introductory event each week, where they take attendance and introduce the videos. Inspired by their transformation, Mr. du Preez asked the team to present a proposal for the workshop to become a mandatory course for 240 state prisons housing 190,000 inmates.
One of the inmates, Vusi, was released last year. He regularly holds events to introduce Prem Rawat’s message at his mother’s house after church services. As he said, “Prem Rawat has brought inspiration to me and reminded me who I really am.”
Here are comments from some of the other inmates:
“I would like to thank Prem Rawat and the facilitators for offering this program of peace. Previously, I had lost hope, I was confused, and I had so many questions that I could not answer. Now, even though my physical [body] might be in the darkness, my spirit is free. Something vital was revealed in my life.” Bongani
“This peace course is simple and wonderful. Watching the DVDs is like watching the sunshine. Now I know that peace is in me. This is a wonderful gift in my life that no one can take. Thanks Prem Rawat. May the Lord bless you and take care of you.” Ready
“Before I attended this program, I was thinking of killing myself. That was the day I started listening about peace. I was very touched by Mr. Prem Rawat’s message. He gave me freedom in my heart and made me understand that there is a real peace within me. He taught me how to forgive and to forget. He showed me that being in prison is not the end of the road, but the beginning of a new life. He helped me understand how special I am. I will keep listening to Prem Rawat until I die—no matter what!” Benjamin
“I have learned how to trust in myself and how to look within me. With the anger gone, I am happy and now talk to my family. The peace I found in me made it easy to say I’m sorry. To me, it means a lifetime of fulfillment. Thank you, Prem Rawat, to make me see that inside, I am a good man.” Fuzile