On Assignment

Making Their Dreams Crumb True

Everyone deserves a second chance, and the YRI bakery helps inmates take their first steps to reintegrating into society.
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GRAPHIC: Phoebe Leow

“After my sentencing, I learnt about the YRI bakery and it got me curious about baking. I had zero experience (in baking), and it was challenging to pick up,” Jack (not his real name) recounted.
 
Making Their Dreams Crumb True 02
PHOTOS: Joash Tan

The YRI bakery is a unit under the YR Industries Pte Ltd (YRI), which offers inmates the opportunity to learn baking skills complete with on-the-job training to enhance their employability after release.
 
YRI head baker Kenny Leong looks out for inmates like Jack who have a passion for baking and selects them for further development in the bakery’s artisan room. “They must demonstrate good behaviour and be disciplined," said Kenny, who, for the past 18 years, has been equipping inmates with baking and life skills that they can utilise upon release.

Making Their Dreams Crumb True 03

Apart from learning how to bake, Jack felt that baking has helped him develop soft skills. “(Baking) has made me more patient and taught me to accept feedback openly and see things positively. We also learn to work together as a team. I hope these skills can help me after my release.”

Making Their Dreams Crumb True 04

With mid-autumn festival around the corner, Jack has been spending his time in the artisan room where mooncakes, cookies and brownies, amongst other baked items, are made under a temperature-controlled environment. “We started making mooncakes in mid-August. It is not easy; we have to be very careful at each step, and it is very temperature sensitive.”

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Echoing his thoughts is fellow inmate Michael (not his real name), who also works at the artisan room. “We must be very patient. In baking, everything needs time and steps cannot be rushed. There is no room for error, else we will have to redo it.”
 
Like all other YRI bakery festive baked goods, mooncakes sell out every year.

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“Mid-autumn festival reminds me of my family, and I can’t wait to reunite with them,” said Michael. “When I’m out, I want to bake mooncakes for my mum and my family. I hope that she likes them, and I hope whoever eats our mooncakes enjoys them and reminds them of their families too.” 

Apart from mooncakes for mid-autumn festival, YRI bakery also caters for other festive occasions such as Christmas, Lunar New Year and Hari Raya Puasa. At other times, you can also get your hands on their cookies or pop by Ben & Jerry’s for a brownie or chewy cookie to show your support. (Yes, those moist, lovely treats are made by inmates at the YRI bakery!)

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GRAPHIC: Joash Tan

In conjunction with the Yellow Ribbon Race (YRR) 2022, the YRI bakery will be offering an array of baked goods for sale at the YRR Carnival and on this website from 9 Sep till 30 Sep.

Will you support them and their families in their reintegration journey?

Written by

Sheryl Lim

Published

9 September 2022

Topics
YRSG
SPS
Prisons Management and Rehabilitation
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