YRP Logo 3D

Who We Are

The Yellow Ribbon Project (YRP) is a national public engagement campaign aimed at changing society’s mindset in giving ex-offenders a second chance in life.

The initiative was started in 2004 by the Community Action for the Rehabilitation of Ex-Offenders (CARE) Network, and former President of Singapore, the late S.R. Nathan, launched the campaign at the Yellow Ribbon Project Charity Concert.

YRP Launch

Objectives of Yellow Ribbon Project: The 3 ‘A’s

The objectives of the Yellow Ribbon Project can be summarised in 3'A's:

  • Raise Awareness of the need to give second chances to ex-offenders and their families.
  • Generate Acceptance of ex-offenders and their families in the community.
  • Inspire community Action to support the rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-offenders back into society.

YR human formation - Run Participants

Why Give 2nd Chances?

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Every year, more than 9,000 ex-offenders complete their sentences and are released from the various prisons and drug rehabilitation centres (DRCs). It is disheartening that ex-offenders have to live with the stigma of having served time behind bars when they are released from prison, one that can often be more punishing than the prison sentence itself. Many ex-offenders, once released, find themselves literally stepping into a second prison. This time it would be a prison with invisible bars, of suspicion, of mistrust and of discrimination.

The best rehabilitation regime during incarceration is of no use if ex-offenders find themselves rejected at every turn when they are released into the larger community. Through the Yellow Ribbon Project, we hope to promote a more accepting society, one that is willing to give ex-offenders a second chance at making good. It is important that we help unlock the second prison for our inmates, even as we let them out of the physical one.

Rehabilitative and aftercare programmes are the supporting mechanisms to facilitate the reintegration of an individual back to the community and his family. Nevertheless, these efforts alone will not be adequate in the long run. The community plays an important part in helping to create a stable social environment where amenable ex-offenders and their families can feel a sense of belonging and find the hope to start afresh.

Hence, there was a need for a concerted and coordinated approach towards creating awareness, generating acceptance and inspiring action within the community.

Inspiration Behind Yellow Ribbon Project: A Song

The Yellow Ribbon Project was inspired by the popular song, ‘Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree’, which is supposedly based on the real-life tale of an ex-offender’s journey to forgiveness.

The simple yellow ribbon was chosen as the symbol of this campaign, with the hope that it would eventually become a self-sustaining grassroots movement. The act of wearing a yellow ribbon pin as a show of acceptance and an offer of forgiveness and second chances to ex-offenders has since become one of the signature activities of the Yellow Ribbon Project.