Published: 21 October 2022
Mr Phillip Tan, Chairman of ISCOS Board of Trustees,
Mr Sallim Bin Abdul Kadir, Chairman of ISCOS Board of Directors,
Mr Joshua Tay, Chairman of NeuGen Fund Management Board,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
1. A very good evening to everyone. Thank you for inviting me to the annual ISCOS and NeuGen appreciation event.
2. I have been told that this is the first ISCOS and NeuGen in-person appreciation event since 2019. I see smiles all around and I believe that you can feel the joy in the room as well.
3. We are gathered here tonight to appreciate and recognise each and every one of you here - sponsors, donors, partners, and volunteers of ISCOS and NeuGen. All of you have played an important role in supporting ISCOS and NeuGen in the meaningful work of helping ex-offenders and their children.
Contributions by Partners and Volunteers
4. The theme for today’s event is “You’re our Superstar!”. I see many of you in black and gold, and I think it’s really befitting of tonight’s theme, “You’re our Superstar!”. I think this theme encapsulates our admiration and deep gratitude towards each and every of you.
5. Our work will not be possible without your support. Each one of you has contributed in your own ways to make a difference to many lives – the lives of the families of our ex-offenders and also their future generations.
6. I would like to give a special mention to our partners and volunteers who have gone the extra mile to support ex-offenders and their families during the pandemic.
7. NeuGen used to hold regular festive celebrations with ex-offenders and their family members to spread the festive cheer. The pandemic had affected plans but not the spirit. We are grateful for the Neo Group and Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow who mobilised your employees to support NeuGen’s festive deliveries to the families of ex-offenders.
8. We are equally grateful to our ISCOS Titans who have remained committed in engaging and reaching out to inmates in prison, while adhering to the safe management measures put in place by the Singapore Prison Service.
9. I would like to share the story of Sufian, an ISCOS Titan and active volunteer with ISCOS for the past two years. Sufian will be receiving the certification of appreciation later.
10. Sufian was last released from prison for drug trafficking in 2012, and he’s managed to stay away from drugs for the past 10 years.
11. Sufian joined ISCOS Titans in 2020, hoping to give back to society through sharing his personal experiences. He currently supports Prisons’ desistance project, where he shares his addiction recovery journey to motivate inmates to reflect on their life choices, and to consider renouncing from gangs. Sufian is also a peer support specialist at the National Addictions Management Service (NAMS).
12. Through helping others, Sufian finds himself being helped as well. This is what motivates him to continue volunteering.
13. Thank you Sufian, keep it up! Thank you so much, well done. I am encouraged by your story and the work that all of you do in helping ex-offenders and their families.
Recent Developments and Forward Plans
14. ISCOS has been supporting and journeying with ex-offenders on their reintegration for the past 33 years. As a founding member of the Community Action for the Rehabilitation of Ex-Offenders (CARE) Network, ISCOS has played a vital role working with government and community partners to support ex-offenders and their families.
15. Let me share with you the work that ISCOS has done with Prisons recently.
16. In January 2022, ISCOS started working with Prisons on Project Resolute, a programme that reaches out to inmates with gang or secret society affiliations. Through the programme, ISCOS provides care, support, and friendship to the participating inmates via regular engagements, from the time the inmates are in prison till after the inmates’ release. When in the community, the ex-offenders can also approach ISCOS to tap on the available aftercare programmes and services, such as employment assistance and access to support groups.
17. Since May 2022, ISCOS also started supporting Prisons’ desistance project by introducing ISCOS Titans like Sufian, to share on their personal experiences with inmates to motivate them to change for the better.
18. These initiatives are impactful because the real test of an offender’s transformation is often not in prison, but in the community, where he or she will face many other temptations and challenges.
19. It is also important for the family members of ex-offenders to receive support. In July this year, NeuGen launched the Neu Empowerment Model. This model is grounded on the belief that the children of ex-offenders can be empowered to create new futures for themselves. The model aims to support the children’s mental and emotional well-being and academic performance, through the provision of various social and educational initiatives.
20. Currently, the NeuGen team reaches out to over 400 children on average each year. The NeuGen team aims to grow this number by almost three times, to 1,000, in the next three years.
21. To do so, the team will engage in wider outreach to more beneficiaries through expansion of initiatives such as after-school activities, counselling, and mentoring programmes. The team will also work on attracting more staff and volunteers to carry out these engagements and to journey with the children and their families.
22. I hope to see more volunteers on board to support this meaningful cause, and to help prevent and break the cycle of intergenerational offending.
23. I am also glad to see the addition of NeuGen to the CARE Network and look forward to more fruitful collaborations among the CARE Network members and aftercare agencies.
24. So, in conclusion, I would like to extend my heartfelt appreciation to all of you here today.
25. With your continued support, I am sure we can continue to press on with our efforts and continue to make a difference to the lives of ex-offenders and their families.
26. Thank you very much.