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Running for Understanding, Acceptance and Hope
Participants of the annual Yellow Ribbon Prison Run beat the morning heat on 17 September 2017 to show their solidarity with ex-offenders and support their reintegration into society.

“Everyone in society has a part to play in reducing the stigma faced by ex-offenders”, urged Superintendent (SUPT) Chan Ching Ching, Vice-Chairperson of the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run Organising Committee 2017 at the side-lines of the event. While there has been growing support for the reintegration and rehabilitation of ex-offenders into society over the years, more can still be done, she added.

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Runners of the 10km category commencing their run after the flag-off ceremony. PHOTO: Aizil A. Rahim

This year, more than 7,000 participants ran to show their support for the reintegration of ex-offenders in society.

For the first time this year, the 5km “Run for Second Chances”was open to the public.

Launched in 2016, the “Run for Second Chances” movement allowed ex-offenders to run alongside those who had supported them in their rehabilitation journey. Organisers hoped that opening the category to the public would encourage more people to show their support for ex-offenders.

Currently in its 9th year, the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run has collectively raised more than $921,500. The proceeds go directly to Yellow Ribbon Project Programmes which help former offenders with financial support and the pursuit of further studies upon their release from prison. This year, the run raised more than $123,500.

“It’s a meaningful event – there are so many runners that came down today. I’m sure the ex-offenders and their families could feel the support from the community and the participants,” said Ms Angela Wong from the Macau Correctional Services Bureau (DSC).

DSC has supported the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run since its inception in 2009. They share a strong bilateral relationship with the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) and both organisations exchange best practices with each other in order to enhance their services.

Support from corporate companies remains crucial, as ex-offenders still face difficulties trying to find gainful employment opportunities after their release from prison.

Healthcare company Parkway Pantai currently collaborates with the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE) by offering jobs, such as hospital laundry services to inmates and ex-offenders.

Mr Phua Tien Beng, acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Parkway Pantai said, “We focus, sometimes too much, on the individuals who have done well and excelled in their respective fields. But I think we need to make sure people who have made mistakes along the way are not forgotten.”

Parkway Pantai is the Yellow Ribbon Run’s largest corporate supporter this year, with over 540 sign-ups from the organisation.

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Guest-of-Honour Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Mr Teo Chee Hean flagged off the 10km run, marking the beginning of the competitive race. PHOTO: Singapore Prison Service.

 

Flagging off the race was Guest-of-Honour Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Mr Teo Chee Hean, who took part in the 5km Fun Walk.

Addressing the crowd after the run, he said, “we must open up our hearts, reach out to (ex-offenders) and also help them…to make them feel back home into society.” He also praised ex-offenders and their families for taking the difficult steps in strengthening the bonds between one another, rebuilding their lives and making something of it.

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The “Wall of Chance”, mimicking the old Changi Prison Wall, where participants could pen down words of encouragement for ex-offenders and their families. PHOTO: Aizil A. Rahim

The Yellow Ribbon Project

The Yellow Ribbon Project is a community initiative in Singapore that aims to create awareness of the need to give second chances to ex-offenders, generate acceptance of ex-offenders and their families in the community, and inspire community action to support the rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-offenders into society since 2004.

More information on how to volunteer and donate is available at www.yellowribbon.org.sg

© 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.


  1. by Muhamad Khair
  2. 21 September 2017
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