NGO aims to improve marketability of former inmates, remove stigma

National 1 minute, 50 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

EMPLOYERS are becoming more receptive to hiring former inmates and to giving them a chance, an Annur Harapan representative said.

Speaking to The Brunei Times recently, the charity organisation representative (who declined to be named) said that the situation these days is different from years ago.

Annur Harapan currently collaborates with the Prisons Department in running a project – Projek Inkubator Rakan Seliaan (Supervised Mates Incubator Project) - involving car washes and a lawn mowing service that is run by former inmates, she said.

“(Employers) are slowly but surely getting more open to hiring them.

“(Hiring ex convicts) has not been a 100 per cent success, but we have to keep trying.

“Although one or two of them may turn out to be unsuccessful, we shouldn’t judge the rest of the former inmates based on these one or two individuals,” she said.

 

The representative said that ex convicts who have finished their sentences often had trouble reintegrating into society.

 

“There is always a social stigma, so people actually refuse to accept them, even their families.

“What happens is most of them end up becoming repeat offenders and go back into jail by doing the same thing (such as theft) because they could not get a job due to the stigma,” she said.

However, she urged members of the public to “give a clean slate” to these former inmates who had carried out their sentences.

“These people are the least looked after, since some of them are still being stigmatised so some of them don’t receive welfare support.

“It’s going to be hard to change everyone’s mindsets but I know it’s slowly starting with the people who are already involved in our projects – they’re opening their eyes and are willing to work with these former inmates,” she said, adding that some of the inmates had taken up jobs at local mosques.

She said that Annur Harapan hoped that the Projek Inkubator Rakan Seliaan would become an avenue for former inmates to set up social enterprises and eventually become independent.

Any ex convicts who wish to be involved in the project can come forward and contact Annur Harapan, she further said.

The Brunei Times