The Communiversity of South Africa was selected as the first social enterprise worldwide to receive the David Lynch Foundation (DLF) “EnterPrize” Award.

The Communiversity is a cutting-edge, community-based, effective, low-cost enterprise providing unemployed and unemployable young people with life-changing learning experiences to enable them to successfully enter the workplace, start their own businesses or continue further education to pursue a career.

The Communiversity is located in the Sir Elton John Annie Lennox-sponsored Vrygrond Community Centre in Cape Town.

Watch a video about the Communiversity below.

The EnterPrize Award honors innovative institutions which are helping to fulfill the mission of the DLF by offering Transcendental Meditation (TM) to at-risk populations to help eliminate the negative effects of trauma and toxic stress while improving cognitive abilities and developing self-sufficiency.

The EnterPrize was presented to the Communiversity creator, co-founder and executive director Dr. Melanie Brown by David Lynch Foundation executive director Bob Roth at a public ceremony at the DLF New York City offices on Thursday, December 3rd.

“The Communiversity of South Africa is now in its fourth year and the results have been truly magical – beyond our most optimistic vision,” said Dr. Brown. “Thanks to a small but stellar team, the Communiversity has succeeded in taking unemployed young people off the street who had lost hope for themselves and their families, and in only five months, prepared them both practically for higher education and jobs and also cognitively and emotionally to step into a future where they can once again believe in their dreams and goals.”

Young people, mostly high school dropouts, account for more than 73% of the unemployed in South Africa and a large portion of the country’s gang violence and crime. Since 2012, the Communiversity has provided more than 300 young men and women with a unique “pre-professional” education, including personal development courses such as TM and Living on Purpose, introductory experiential, work-related courses in underserved fields such as culinary skills, solar technology, electrics, computer coding, rigorous academic courses in math, critical thinking, and English communication.

As a result, 87% of the Communiversity graduates are either now in college, have started their own businesses, or have jobs or internships. Most graduates are readily admitted to local colleges or are regularly employed at top national companies. “I absolutely boast about the Communiversity graduates I now have the pleasure of calling my employees. I get goosebumps when I talk about these humble, respectful, responsible, amazing people I have had the joy of employing,” says Michelle King, national marketing director for Cinnabon, South Africa.

“The Communiversity of South Africa has proven to be a highly beneficial, time-efficient and low-cost model with strong outcomes that we believe could be used successfully throughout the world. The David Lynch Foundation is delighted and proud to honor their remarkable achievement – the creation of a ‘bridge to somewhere’ – for disadvantaged, at-risk youth,” said Bob Roth. “The David Lynch Foundation is so inspired by the work of Dr. Brown that we have renamed the award in her honor: ‘The Dr. Melanie Brown EnterPrize Award.’ This is only fitting because she embodies all the qualities of a wise, enlightened, enterprising leading who is dedicated to changing the world for good.”

About Communiversity of South Africa

The Communiversity of South Africa is a community-based social enterprise – a unique educational model created to successfully address high unemployment and the need for personal growth and relevant education among the country’s young adults. For more information, please click here or contact: info@communiversity.org.

About the David Lynch Foundation

The David Lynch Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, was established in 2005 to fund the implementation of scientifically proven stress-reducing modalities including Transcendental Meditation, for at-risk populations such as underserved inner-city students; veterans with PTSD and their families; women and girls who have been victims of violence, rape, and abuse; American Indians suffering from diabetes and high suicide rates; homeless adults and teens participating in reentry programs; and incarcerated adults and juveniles. For more information, click here.

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