You may know about the Yellow Ribbon Project that helps ex-offenders and promotes awareness of their needs but there are social enterprises that help them directly
By Cleon Ong
You may have have heard of the Yellow Ribbon Project that helps ex-offenders and promotes awareness of their needs and their cause. You might even have contributed something to them.
However, they need a lot more than that. Thankfully, there are social enterprises that help them directly.
Industrial & Services Co-operative Society Ltd (ISCOS) is a social enterprise that helps ex-offenders and their families to re-enter society. With the mission “to promote self-esteem and economic independence in ex-offenders while guiding them towards good citizenship and good value systems”, ISCOS extends a hand to them, helping them in practical ways so that they can rebuild their lives.
ISCOS provides various services such as Job Placement and Employability Training, and giving support and guidance to their members. Though they have paid their dues for their mistakes, they are still faced with the social stigma. Some employers, friends, and even family members shun them which, apart from other challenges, takes a huge toll on their self-esteem.
To help its members, ISCOS has also set up companies such as Mister Clean, to provide employment opportunities for the ex-offenders. ISCOS also works closely with companies, like Power Pack Networking International and Bcreative Pro, to provide them with employment or training opportunities.
ISCOS also provides subsidies on courses such as Building and Construction Supervisor Safety Course and Class 4 Driving License, among others. These help ex-offenders attain skills so that they can find employment.
Everyone deserves a second chance.
ISCOS, 237 Alexandra Road, #04-19, Singapore 159929, Tel: 6743 7885
What is a Social Enterprise?
A social enterprise, like any other business, is set up to cater to an unmet need, and to earn a profit. Nonetheless, other than simply earning profit, a social enterprise has a social mission.
Each social enterprise is unique in its own way, addressing the various needs of different groups of people, as well as helping and empowering various groups of the disadvantaged. Some even address environmental issues.
Social enterprises are gradually popping up all over Singapore. Running a business while having a social cause – a social enterprise is indeed the business of the future.
Although a social enterprise helps the disadvantaged, it is different from a charity. A charity sustains itself through donation, while a social enterprise is self-sustained, through its business model. Some social enterprises even empower and encourage their beneficiaries to sustain themselves.
Some social enterprises that you may have heard of might include Eighteen Chefs and Joan Bowen. Here, at Weekender, we are also proud to be a social enterprise.