Our Community

Ordinary People, Extraordinary Mission (Part 1)

Celebrating our Home Team Volunteer Network Award recipients for 2021!
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GRAPHIC: Home Team News

Sharing His Story on Behalf of the Anti-Drug Cause
Having spent many decades on the wrong side of the law, Mr Ramli Bin Abdullah is determined to stop others from making the same wrong choices.  

“I came from a broken family, which led me to do drugs and join a gang,” he recalled. "I was abusing and selling drugs to provide for my own needs.” 

At 18, Mr Ramli was arrested for taking drugs while he was serving his National Service (NS) and was sentenced to 24 months in the detention barracks. A second drug offence saw him serve another 36 months, and he served a third sentence for being Absent Without Official Leave. The downward spiral continued after Mr Ramli completed NS, and he spent about nine years behind bars for offences such as theft and rioting. 

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PHOTO: Chloe Low

In 2012, Mr Ramli was transferred to Jamiyah Halfway House (Darul Islah) to serve the tail-end of his sentence. It was there that he finally saw the light. “On my second day there, my mother came to visit me,” he recalled. “That was when I regretted everything I’d done. It was time for me to give back to society, and my mother.” 

Mr Ramli is now an Operations Officer at the Jamiyah Halfway House, the same organisation where he served his final sentence. There, he shares his personal story of change with residents. “With understanding, guidance and support,” he explained, “they can also find a new starting point in life.” 

Compelled to share about the harm that drugs can cause and to champion second chances for ex-offenders, in 2015, Mr Ramli started the Reforming Support Group (RSG). The RSG team of volunteers has grown to include 15 committee members who offer befriending support; incare and aftercare support; and monthly care packages to the families of ex-offenders. 

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At Jamiyah Halfway House. PHOTO: Chloe Low

Mr Ramli also conducts preventive drug education talks in collaboration with the Central Narcotics Bureau and the National Council Against Drug Abuse, reaching out to students and youths about the terrible toll of drugs.

For his efforts as an Anti-Drug Abuse Advocacy (A3) Network volunteer, Mr Ramli received the Home Team Volunteer Network Commendation Award this year. “I have no words to describe this honour,” he said. “Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the years, and given me their trust.” – BY MIKE TAN

Breaking Records for a Good Cause
Hear Mdm Jenap Said roar when she dons her legendary Catwoman outfit for the annual Yellow Ribbon Prison Run!

An avid marathon runner, she has been raising both funds and awareness on behalf of the Yellow Ribbon Project (YRP) since 2012.

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PHOTO: Joash Tan

The cheery 62-year-old loves to spend her time doing charity work, but shared that her involvement with YRP wasn’t an instinctive one. It was only when Mdm Jenap realised that her close neighbour’s husband had been arrested that she felt prompted to lend a helping hand. The mother of two recalled, “The more I learnt about my neighbour’s circumstances and the challenges that she faced as a single parent, the more I wanted to do something about it.”

Conducting outreach on giving ex-offenders a second chance requires constant effort, but the full-time quality control manager has never faltered. “I’ll set aside my personal time to support YRP roadshows on weekends, to recruit more volunteers and raise funds for the cause,” she said. “In the course of our outreach, I often meet older folks who have a negative impression of ex-offenders. I always try to explain our goals and, when I finally manage to convince them of the need to give ex-offenders a second chance, it’s a very rewarding moment for me.”

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Dare to be different: Mdm Jenap has dressed up as Catwoman for the annual Yellow Ribbon Prison Run for a number of years to raise awareness about the need to give ex-offenders a second chance. PHOTOS: Mdm Jenap Said, Home Team News

This week, Mdm Jenap received the Home Team Volunteer Network Outstanding Volunteer Award for her leadership, commitment and active participation in volunteering for the Home Team.

“I didn’t expect any award because everything I’ve done for YRP, the inmates and ex-offenders came from the bottom of my heart," said the volunteer leader. "Acceptance from the community is very important to this group of people. Everyone makes mistakes, but all of us deserve a second chance in life.”

When the COVID-19 outbreak caused many YRP events and activities to be reduced, Mdm Jenap stepped forward to co-host volunteer engagement sessions online. She aspires to continue raising funds for YRP. “I completed a 12-hour overnight run in 2012 and raised $120,000 for the Yellow Ribbon Fund,” she shared. “This year, I'm hoping to break that record by doing something else for 24 hours, to further support ex-offenders!” – BY ELAINE LEE

Home Team Volunteer Network 10th Anniversary
The Home Team Volunteer Network (HTVN) celebrated its 10th anniversary virtually on 28 October 2021. In his welcome address, guest-of-Honour Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, launched the “HTVN Outstanding Volunteer Award”, which recognised four outstanding volunteers for their leadership, strong commitment and active participation in volunteering for the Home Team. 16 Home Team volunteers also received the Commendation Award for their exemplary service. 

The Ministry of Home Affairs extends its deepest appreciation to all Home Team volunteers for their strong support and service over the last decade, and will continue to work closely with volunteers to help keep Singapore safe and secure for many more years to come.

Read the opening speech by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, at the Home Team Volunteer Network 10th Anniversary.

Written by

Mike Tan and Elaine Lee


28 October 2021

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