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OCTOBER 17, 2012 • ISSUE 186

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Camilo with Father Gabriel Mejía


Camilo leading scouting activities at La Alegria orphanage in Medellin, Colombia


On a camping trip with boys from La Libertad therapeutic community in San Rafael, Colombia


With MUM’s Ultimate Frisbee team

Camilo Estrada — From the Streets
of Colombia to MUM

Just a few years ago, 12-year-old Camilo Estrada was living on the streets of Medellin, addicted to drugs, one of many thousands of displaced children in Colombia’s second-largest city. Then he heard about Father Gabriel Mejía’s Fundación Hogares Claret, which provides shelter for homeless children.

There, as part of his therapy, he learned the Transcendental Meditation® technique and later the TM-Sidhi® program. He became a Boy Scout and finished high school. After successfully completing his rehabilitation program, he became a certified addictions counselor and therapeutic community operator. “I don’t know if I would be alive if I hadn’t gotten into the Foundation,” he said.

He stayed with the Foundation for the next three years, working in the various therapeutic communities, counseling children and leading scouting activities. “I experienced how powerful Transcendental Meditation was, especially the way we apply it for treatment,” he said. “TM makes it easier to recover from addictions. Those who meditate have more success in treatment and in life.”

Father Gabriel wants to add Maharishi Ayurveda® to his treatment program and establish Maharishi Ayurveda Health Centers for the children under his care. Camilo had always been interested in learning more about Maharishi’s knowledge, so Father Gabriel chose Camilo to attend MUM to study Maharishi Ayurveda. Two years ago, Camilo enrolled at Maharishi University of Management, supported in large part by a Sam McIlhenny Scholarship from the University.

“The biggest thing I learned in life is that there are always opportunities,” Camilo said. “If you are aware of them, you can catch them.” In addition to studying health and physiology, Camilo completed a 5-weekend Maharishi Ayurveda Wellness Consultant Training program at MUM.

After he graduates, Camilo plans to return to Colombia and create Maharishi Ayurveda Health Centers for the children in Father Gabriel’s rehabilitation centers. “I’ve seen and felt the pain of addiction,” he said, “and I strongly believe that with Maharishi Ayurveda that pain can cease.”

“Camilo is an inspiring student,” said Paul Morehead, professor of health and physiology. “When Camilo writes a paper, it is usually twice as long as I requested. His enthusiasm and dedication to knowledge is stirring to all of us. Colombia will have a great leader in the field of Consciousness-Based Health Care.”

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