14 July 2014 – ISCOS (Industrial & Services Co-operative Society Ltd), a Co-operative for ex-offenders, has started its first series of Learning Environment Assistance Project (LEAP). The initial phase is currently underway and will benefit a total of 21 children from seven needy ex-offenders’ households.
The project involves cleaning and giving each house a new coat of paint, and providing a study desk and chair for the children to have a comfortable home study area. After all physical work has been accomplished, parents will be briefed by ISCOS’ case workers on the importance of maintaining a suitable and conducive home study environment for the children.
The minor refurbishment work has been done in five households around the island on 11 and 14 July, and two more homes have been scheduled on 19 July. The next two phases of the project are slated in August and September 2014 targeting additional 17 households.
Project LEAP is an instrumental component of the Yellow Ribbon Fund-ISCOS Fairy Godparent Programme (FGP), a holistic children and family initiative. FGP aims to nurture and enhance the educational attainment of the students by providing them with essential well-rounded support. This includes ensuring substantial family support and a conducive home study environment. ISCOS strongly believes that when children acquire solid education, it can help to prevent intergenerational offending.
“We have no doubt that education in Singapore schools is top notch, but without proper guidance and a suitable study environment at home, students would not be able to receive the full benefits of a well-rounded education system,” said Mr Patrick Ng, ISCOS Executive Director.
A total of 50 employees from the Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS), including its Chief Executive Officer, Mr Jeffrey Goh, volunteered to be part of the first two days of the project. The employees were split into five teams, with 10 members deployed to each of the five households to help with house cleaning, painting and installation of the study areas.
“NETS has been supporting ISCOS for a number of years and this year we wanted to do more. I am greatly encouraged by my staff who have enthusiastically volunteered their time to be involved in this meaningful programme. Project LEAP not only helps the families but provides a platform for our staff to give back to society. I sincerely believe our staff will be greatly blessed by such an experience,” said Mr Goh.
On 19 July, a team of 22 ISCOS volunteers will be deployed at the remaining two houses for painting and refurbishment work. This rounds up the first phase of Project LEAP. ISCOS hopes that through this project, more organisations will come forward to help the less fortunate citizens in the community and give these children a chance to lead better and purposeful lives.
Beneficiary profile: Noraini (not her real name), 11
Noraini (not her real name), 11, lives with her parents and three younger siblings in a one-room rental flat. Her father, Jamil (not his real name), 44, has been released from prison and is the sole breadwinner of the family. He currently works as a delivery driver and the family of six survives on a total income of just $1,300. Noraini’s mother, Rosnah, 37 is unable to get a full-time job as she is suffering from chronic asthma. She collects clothes and sells them at a flea market for some pocket money. The house is cluttered with many items and space is limited for the family. The walls require a new coat of paint and the children need a new study desk.
About ISCOS (INDUSTRIAL & SERVICES CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY LTD)
ISCOS is a Co-operative with a mission to help ex-offenders and their families. Established in 1989, it has now over 14,000 ex-offender members who have benefited from various programmes and initiatives, from employment and skills training, support and guidance in the community, and other social services.
Through the Yellow Ribbon Fund-ISCOS Fairy Godparent Programme (FGP), ISCOS aims to break the cycle of inter-generational offending by helping families of ex-offenders, particularly young and impressionable children. FGP is anchored on three key components: Student Development, Family Support and Home Environment. The programme provides the children with opportunities to achieve their academic potential so that in the future, they will become contributing members of our society.
NETS was founded in 1985 to establish Singapore’s national PIN Debit scheme, NETS Debit, propelling Singapore into the age of electronic payments. NETS is the scheme operator, processor and acquirer of the service. Today, NETS offers a comprehensive range of payment and financial processing services for financial institutions, merchants and consumers across terminals, wireless, internet and mobile platforms.
NETS has been supporting ISCOS’ Gift of Hope project since 2010, providing recipients with a FlashPay card to help them pay for their first meal and transport home without worry. For more information on NETS and its payment services, please visit: www.nets.com.sg.