SINGAPORE, 15 September 2019 – 10,000 runners showed their support for ex-offenders at the 11th Yellow Ribbon Prison Run today, and raised more than $125,000 for the Yellow Ribbon Fund, which supports rehabilitation programmes for inmates, ex-offenders and their families
Guest-of-Honour President Halimah Yacob, who flagged off the 10km and 5km runs, also participated in the 5km fun walk – the most popular category with over 5,600 participants.
The Yellow Ribbon Prison Run symbolises the community’s belief in the Yellow Ribbon message of hope, reconciliation and second chances for ex-offenders. This year’s event saw one of the highest participation since its first edition in 2009.
“Every year, the run brings together people from all walks of life to show their support for the Yellow Ribbon cause,” said Superintendent of Prisons 1A Chan Ching Ching, chairperson of the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run 2019 organising committee. “It is this collective belief in second chances that empowers ex-offenders to not only appreciate the community’s acceptance of them, but also gain confidence in their ability to transform their own lives.”
“Ex-offenders face many uncertainties in their journey of reintegration into society. So when we see thousands showing their support for the Yellow Ribbon Project by taking part in the run, it means a lot to us, to know that we are not alone in our journey and that the larger society is rooting for us,” said run participant Azmi Bin Rahman, a recovering drug abuser and Peer Leader with the Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association, which provides support and motivation to help ex-drug offenders stay drug-free.
As part of this year’s fundraising efforts, a mosaic artwork of an image symbolising family support, made out of LEGO bricks, was created. Members of the public, corporations and sponsors were invited to donate $5 for each LEGO brick used to create the artwork, and it raised over $125,000. President Halimah placed the final LEGO brick to complete the artwork at the event.
“We are honoured to contribute to the Yellow Ribbon Project and the effort to support ex-offenders through such a unique and creative outlet,” said Ms Lesa Gan, 2nd Vice District Governor of the Lions Clubs of Singapore, which was the largest donor to this year’s event, with a contribution of $30,000 to the Yellow Ribbon Fund.
This year’s run route gave participants a chance to pass several heritage sites that represent key developments in the history of the Singapore Prison Service, including newer landmarks such as the Selarang Halfway House, as well as other facilities such as the Lloyd Leas Community Supervision Centre and the Tanah Merah Prison. The run ended at the Changi Prison Complex, where participants passed through the gates of the iconic old Changi Prison Wall, which was gazetted as a National Monument in 2016. After the run, participants and members of the public had the opportunity to learn more about the Yellow Ribbon Project and its various initiatives at the Rehabilitation Fair.
Since its inception in2009, the Yellow Ribbon Run has raised over $1,180,000 for the Yellow Ribbon Fund.