Prison Fellowship Singapore Ltd (PFS) is a non-profit, inter-denominational fellowship of Christians who are committed to embracing prisoners, ex-offenders and their families in Singapore with God’s love and transformative power to turn their brokenness into wholeness.
Integrated Ministry Strategy
Our work is organised into three key ministry areas of In-Care, After-Care and Family Care, which are brought together holistically under our “Integrated Ministry” strategy that was launched in 2020.
We seek to:
- transform the lives of inmates, ex-offenders and their families with the Word of God and His love;
- support the rehabilitation of inmates / ex-offenders in collaboration with our After-care partners;
- restore broken relationships between the inmates / ex-offenders and their loved ones;
- break the inter-generational cycle of crime through befriending children of the incarcerated, counselling and other forms of support and interventions;
- strengthen community partnerships to promote the reintegration of ex-offenders into society; and
- rally partners and supporters to foster a vibrant After-care Support Network to address the needs of ex-offenders and their families.
Our Through Care ministry provides beneficiaries with a full range of services:
- Pre-sentence counselling for first time offenders and to their families to prepare them for incarceration.
- In Care programmes conducted in prison, such as one-to-one counselling; weekly Chapel Services and Bible Studies; and other rehabilitative programmes.
- Prison Gate where PFS staff or volunteers will be on hand to greet the beneficiaries at the prison gate upon release, to offer them transitional assistance as part of their reintegration into society.
- After Care Support covers areas such as employment guidance and short-term financial assistance to support the ex-offenders’ initial transition. We provide a network of care and guidance through our weekly Men and Women Support Groups to facilitate assimilation into society in the long term.
PFS not only supports inmates and ex-offenders but we also aid their loved ones, who often find themselves saddled with unexpected concerns and problems when someone in the family is sent to prison. Apart from a sudden loss of income resulting in financial hardship, children are also separated from their incarcerated parent(s).
To help such families, volunteers from PFS’s Family Care Ministry befriend them to provide support. We believe that family is integral to an ex-offender’s reintegration journey. Hence, our programmes aim to strengthen the family unit, promote reconciliation and facilitate assimilation to the community.
Our Family Care programmes include a Care Club for children and youths, providing educational support such as tuition classes and computers to facilitate Home-Based Learning (HBL). These programmes which focus on the next generation are the only preventive work of PFS. We believe that by ensuring children remain in our education system through our one-on-one volunteer tuition programme, we have a good chance to break the inter-generational cycle of crime. In 2020, PFS had four Care Club children who completed their Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE). We were overjoyed that all four students were promoted to secondary school, notwithstanding the difficulties of having to adjust to HBL and COVID-19 challenges at home. This success was a great encouragement to everyone, especially the volunteer tutors.
However, a lack of immediate helping hands on the ministry frontlines is a cause for concern. Robin Low, our Integrated Ministry & Care Club Coordinator, recently shared that Care Club is in urgent need of more volunteer tutors to support our children and youth beneficiaries.
“Why do we need volunteers? Many of our beneficiaries come from broken families with low income. They do not have the privilege of sending their children for tuition, hence volunteer tutors are vital to support this work,” explained Robin.
“When caregivers are assured that their children’s needs and education are well taken care of, they will have one less thing to worry about. Caregivers will then be able to focus on managing livelihood issues such as earning income and putting food on the table.”
The Care Club is currently seeking female tutors for primary school-going children, who can commit for at least 1 year. Interested applicants may contact Robin via his email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other than the Through Care and Family Care ministries, there are other meaningful ways that PFS supports our beneficiaries. One such way is through our annual flagship event, the Angel Tree Project, where we raise funds and awareness to support prisoners, ex-offenders and their families, instilling hope of restoring broken relationships with their loved ones.
Around September every year, inmates are encouraged by PFS to write letters seeking forgiveness from, and reconciliation with their family members. These reconciliatory letters will be delivered to the inmates’ families by our volunteers during Christmas. Gifts sponsored by individual and corporate supporters will accompany these letters to bring Christmas cheer to the recipients.
In 2020, close to 700 beneficiary families were blessed through the Angel Tree Project with the support of 38 churches and over 1,000 volunteers. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, we are aiming to bless 800 beneficiary families in 2021.
How to be involved
With over 1,000 beneficiaries to support, we certainly need more volunteer hands on deck. PFS partners with churches, para-Christian organisations and the community at large to enhance the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of men, women and their families in Singapore’s prison system before, during and after imprisonment.
While we currently have a volunteer pool of around 850 representing 170 partnering churches, we continue to welcome more to journey together with us to serve the lost, the least and the last in society. It takes the community, you and I, to make a difference in these lives, which have been adversely impacted by incarceration.
In-Care ministry can be a wonderful opportunity for the church to serve in the mission field without leaving the country. After-Care can greatly enrich the church and bless her with the discipleship journey experience alongside fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Our Family Care is really about community outreach to those in need in our neighbourhood. We invite you to share God’s love with your local community and serve alongside us today!
Chua Kok Wan is the Executive Director of Prison Fellowship (PFS) / Visuals courtesy of Prison Fellowship Singapore