Free full-time and part-time education to young people. Education includes self-development programmes which develop students holistically, improve learning ability, improve behaviour and lead to greater skill in action (Transcendental Meditation, TM-Sidhis programme).
Maharishi Institute is the first self-funding university in the world, where the government doesn’t pay any money, and the students earn money and pay their own fees while going to school.
The first year is completely free. From second year, students must work four hours a day in any number of jobs throughout the university : either university staff positions (marketing, admin, finance…) or in the Invincible Outscouring call center on the campus. The Invincible Outsourcing is a BPO call centre, whose backbone is a technology provided by IT companies. The university runs on the BPO call centre business profits.
Students receive a stipend from this work to cover their own living costs, to pay back their student loan or to support another student in a pay-it-forward-plan. Students also receive zero-interest study loans to cover tuitions, a daily lunch, free clothing and leadership training weekends.
The school building was donated by one of the main mining companies.
Place: South Africa
Scale: Over 5000 students have gone through the programs.
- Take entire families out of poverty in one generation: graduates now work in the banking industry, in the IT sector, at the Stock Exchange, in the government or have started their own companies. “Our graduates can earn enough money in two years to buy and build a house with water and electricity, and over time can support their extended families. It’s a source of tremendous pride for someone with no hope for the future to become someone who is highly respected in their community.” (Dr. Blecher)
While working as an actuary and international business consultant, Taddy Blecher, born in South Africa, turns down a well paid job offer in the US in 1995 to remain in South Africa to pursue education and employment opportunities for disadvantaged youth.
In 1999, after four years of teaching the Trenscendental Meditation Technique to students at schools, Blecher began contacting rural schools and city business’ to recruit students and donations for an “almost-free business university”, the Community and Individual Development Association (CIDA) which he co-founded with 250 students To get the school started, Blecher was given the use of a Johannesburg office building by an investment bank called Investec and his former employer gave him use of an office. Belcher taught students to type 30 words per minute using a photocopy of a computer keyboard and successfully pursued donations from companies like JP Morgan and Dell computers as well as some entrepreneurs.
Blecher started Maharishtri Institute in 2009, when he co-founded a 225-seat call centre called Invincible Outsourcing, to allow disadvantaged students to earn funds for education while they are still in school.
- Over 5,000 students have gone through the programs at our previous university CIDA City Campus, the ‘First Free University in South Africa’, and now we are in the process of scaling up our new initiative, The Maharishi Institute, from 250 students to 1,500 within the next two years.
- “And because MI has its own self-funding mechanism, we will be able to realize Maharishi’s vision to replicate the school in every province in South Africa and every country in the continent.” They are currently creating the education replication demonstration site to showcase the model. “We’ve had amazing support from strong South African and international partners that view this model as a key to bring about sustainable transformation in South Africa, and other African countries“. Supporters include: the Oppenheimer Family, Anglo American, Datatec, Chuma Foundation, Kellogg Foundation, Skoll Foundation amongst others.”
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Volunteering, sponsorship & start your own
Want to sponsor a student from Maharishi Institute, or volunteer in the university? Contact them also to know more about the business model.