MERU – Ezemvelo Project

MERU – Ezemvelo Project

– a new sustainable rural university in South Africa

Year 2012
Partner: CIDA

Project Background
In 2008, the Oppenheimer family donated a 4500 hectare Nature Reserve, Ezemvelo Nature Reserve, to our non-profit, the Maharishi lnstitute, to provide a stunning location for a new sustainable rural university, MERU. Ezemvelo is conservatively valued at R35.5 million, or 28 million DKK. MERU is being founded to educate disadvantaged youth in the conservation and “green” industries. The breakthrough concept combines education, poverty alleviation, and elimate change  awareness  and  reduction  into  one  solution.  lndividuals  and communities will learn how to create wealth out of emerging 21st century green technologies.  MERU allows students to live and study in a rural area while still enjoylng the  best  the world has to  offer. The education and  entrepreneurial devalapment training will include: conservation, wildlife management, eco-tourism, sustainable energy businesses, organic agriculture, eco-constructlon, and African heritage related businesses.

MERU is planned to be a model rural campus, incorporating personal, financial, and environmental sustainability with high quality education and experiential learning. The beautiful  campus  and  nature  reserve  will  also  promote  environmental  and conservation awareness to  students and  visitors alike  with its  climate change exhibition center, short courses, symposia, and field studies. The MERU concept builds on the  Maharishi lnstitute model, a global award winning educational Institution, developed over the last 10 years creating a rural model, which Is scalable, replicable, and ultimately self-sustaining, and could be used throughout South Africa and the continent. The first students at MERU began their studies in May 2011.