SMILE is the name we chose for a student club at the University of Cape Town (UCT)  in South Africa, which has also been known as the Art of Living Student Society.

SMILE stands for: Service, Meditation, Inspiration, Leadership and Empowerment.

Now I’ve decided to write about it at this particular time, because it is my last day serving as chairperson for  this incredible society. My journey started in 2012 and I have been on the committee for 3 years. Why would anyone do this, you may ask, especially when there is no monetary payment involved. Well I guess that’s what passion is. You simply cannot put a value on changing lives and spreading good vibes, it is a priceless and rewarding experience in every sense. So now I’ll place my nostalgia aside and tell you more about what we do.

Through weekly meditation and yoga , we offer tools and techniques to de-stress and increase productivity, focus and well-being. The Art of Living Happiness Program is a 6 day program offered by our society to enable students and staff to lead a happier and healthier lifestyle.

The service aspect is mainly in the form of outreach or community development in the surrounding communities. This involves sandwich-making events in the middle of the campus plaza, winter warmer collections, soup-giving missions, visiting night shelters and homes that care for abused and orphaned children, and women. Many  of us are also qualified Breath Water Sound Teachers, enabling us to take stress-release and tools for healthy living, out to underprivileged communities, hospitals and schools. Our main focus has been to offer these courses to the staff at UCT, who work tirelessly to keep our campus clean. These courses are also powerful in reducing violence and crime in areas that need it most.

We also host social events in the form of hikes, cooking competitions, movies, sports days, hot-chocolate stands, smile activations, and more. This brings diverse people together in a space of happiness and inspiration.

The main objective of SMILE UCT is to help people lead a balanced life, achieve their potential and have a stress-free student experience, inspired by the life and work of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Through yoga and meditation, outreach and social events we are creating a community to support, empower, inspire and enrich life at UCT and for those around us, and to cultivate leadership skills and passion to make a positive difference.






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