25 April 2015 – In conjunction with Singapore’s 50th birthday, ISCOS (Industrial & Services Co-operative Society Ltd), a co-operative for ex-offenders, has embarked on an ambitious project to help 50 households. Titled the “Learning Environment Assistance Project (LEAP)”, physical study areas will be installed in the homes of needy families to provide a conducive study environment for school-going children. Other home improvement assistance such as painting will also be provided where needed.
To date, 13 families have already benefited from LEAP. In addition to the services under LEAP, each beneficiary receives a bookstore voucher to purchase their stationary supplies. ISCOS case workers also engage parents to educate them on the purpose of maintaining a conducive home study environment for their children.
Socially responsible organisations such as the Rotary Club of Singapore and NETS have expressed their commitment in the project and have rallied employees to be involved. NETS has in fact been a partner for LEAP since the inception of this project.
Initiated last year, 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 believe that right values and good habits start at home. With proper guidance, these children can grow up to be independent and become contributing members of the society,”said Mr Patrick Ng, ISCOS Executive Director.
Devanantthan, 23, a full-time National Serviceman and second time LEAP volunteer, said “Whenever I see the smiles on the children’s faces and their excitement on simply having a study corner, I feel a different kind of fulfilment. I know I am doing something useful to make a difference in their lives, more than what a material gift can do.
”ISCOS hopes that through the LEAP, more organisations will come forward to help the less fortunate citizens in the community and give these children opportunities to lead better and purposeful lives.
Amanda (not her real name), 9, lives with her mother and three siblings in a one-room rental flat. Her mother is a single parent and is currently unemployed due to health reasons. The family is receiving some form of financial assistance from social service offices and other voluntary welfare organisations. Amanda’s father was recently released from prison but did not make contact with the family or rendered any support to them. The house is cluttered with many items and space is limited for the family. The room walls require a new coat of paint and the children need a conducive study corner as Amanda and her siblings have been doing their school work on the floor.
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 as to prepare them to become contributing members of our society in future.