National Youth Achievement Award (NYAA) Ceremony 2023: Inspiring Hope through Kindness
SINGAPORE, 29 November 2023 – Introduced for prison inmates in 2000, the National Youth Achievement Award (NYAA) aims to spur inmates aged between 16 and 30 to commit to change for the better during their incarceration. Since then, more than 2,000 inmates have completed the programme. In 2023, 89 inmates completed the NYAA programme, and showed their commitment to serve the community and strive for personal development.
The NYAA Ceremony 2023 was held at Institution TM1 today, to celebrate the achievements of the inmates who completed the programme. Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law, was the Guest-of-Honour. In his speech, Mr Tong commended the awardees for their perseverance and highlighted the importance and relevance of NYAA in their rehabilitation. He said that the NYAA complements the transformational programmes in prisons, providing inmates with the opportunity to discover qualities and values that are meaningful to themselves, in their journey of change.
The theme for NYAA Ceremony 2023 is ‘Inspiring Hope Through Kindness’. It encourages participants to explore different ways they can give back to society, regardless of their circumstances, and focuses on the spirit of serving and helping others. Superintendent Mohamed Fahmy Bin Mohamed Hanifah, Chairperson of the NYAA Ceremony 2023, said “What is special about NYAA 2023 is our focus on inclusivity and sustainability this year. The community leadership initiatives by the participants centred on reaching out to various underprivileged groups in the community such as children of incarcerated parents, the elderly and destitute persons. It was heartening to witness the participants’ dedication and enthusiasm when they brainstormed ideas to use only recycled materials to create simple yet meaningful games and gifts for the three groups of beneficiaries.”
Earlier this year, the NYAA participants took part in the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run to show support for the Yellow Ribbon cause. They clocked 6km each by running at their respective Correctional Unit’s exercise yard, and $10 was donated for every kilometre covered. Through their collective efforts, more than $8,000 was contributed via the NYAA programme. They also designed festive cards for beneficiaries from Moral Welfare Home and Play.Able.
This year, the NYAA Gold Award participants developed and implemented three Community Leadership Initiative Projects. One of these projects is a collaboration between SPS and Jenaris Home, where inmates helped create a memory card game for destitute residents who are suffering from mental health issues. The inmates hope that this game will help in providing cognitive stimulation in a fun and engaging manner, while promoting and strengthening social interactions and leisure opportunities among the beneficiaries.
Through the NYAA programme, inmates can also participate in activities such as adventure-centric challenges and sports activities facilitated by SportCares. Mr Sultan Syed Sikandar S/O Abdullah, who facilitated one of the sports activities (Futsal) at SportCares, said “It was very encouraging to see the inmates’ teamwork and eagerness to learn. The camaraderie exhibited during the programme tells us they have the potential to be good citizens. They showed genuine care and concern for one another during their games and the positive changes we noticed in the inmates during their NYAA journey was inspiring and uplifting.”