Which non-profit organisation in South Africa can boast a 4,000 hectare nature reserve? Ezemvelo, is a natural treasure, donated by the Oppenheimer family to the Maharishi Institute in 2007 to create a rural eco-village.
The eco-village at Ezemvelo is being developed to provide the most cutting-edge knowledge, technologies & methodologies to preserve nature, slow climate change, and transform the status quo of rural poverty into new possibility. It will be a model for integrated rural and sustainable development, and for sustainable living for developing economies everywhere.
The plan combines relevant knowledge, poverty alleviation, and climate change into one solution, whereby communities and individuals learn how to create wealth out of emerging 21’st century industries which allow them to remain in rural areas and still enjoy the best the world has to offer. Plans are being developed to train students in areas such as conservation and guiding, eco-construction, organic agriculture, eco-tourism management, and alternative energy – skills that are in increasing demand both in South Africa and internationally. Students will be involved in the conservation of their own natural and cultural heritage and learn how to create jobs and wealth that is local, clean and green. All education will be offered through accredited and registered partners such as FGASA (the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa), EWT (Endangered Wildlife Trust), Regenesys, and Maharishi University of Management USA via distance education.
Students in the Maharishi Institute get to spend several weeks per year at Ezemvelo, and in the last 3-years nearly 4,000 youth from various institutions, have experienced leadership camps and training at Ezemvelo. Based on the great successes of these programmes, and the transformation it has brought about in these students, we are starting to develop a new 'green' eco-village for sustainable living at Ezemvelo. Custom-built facilities are to be created that will all be cutting-edge, green and built using local materials to whatever extent possible, as well as incorporating the traditional Ndebele style of the local culture. All facilities will be built using the style of Sthapatya Ved, and ancient Vedic system of building in harmony with natural law, to have maximum light, air, health and fortune inducing properties in any construction or dwelling.
The focus of Ezemvelo is always experiential, hands-on learning from Nature as teacher in the great South African outdoors.