Our Listening ear

About Our listening ear

Our Listening Ear (OLE), is a ground-up initiative to support ex-offenders through their challenges and struggles as they readjust to society. We believed that having someone to talk to and lean on during this trying time can make a world of difference in an ex-offender’s ability to deal with the many challenges they face. Especially if the listener has a similar experience and is able to empathise with the struggles the ex-offender is going through. 

Hence, OLE was created, to give a second chance to ex-offenders so that they too can achieve their goals in life, like securing stable housing, a good job, and satisfying personal relationships. To have them immersed in a supportive and non-judgemental of a community of fellow overcomers while they rebuild their lives.

Transforming lives through coaching

Many people may think imprisonment is essential to help offenders learn a lesson and change for the better. Unfortunately, with a criminal record, ex-offenders find it difficult to re-integrate back into society. Prejudice, stigma and restricted access to resources makes it hard to find stable employment, a place to live, and community support. Going back to their old ways seemed like the right thing to do as they fight feelings of hopelessness, depression, and anxiety being marginalised by the society.

grow with a loving community

Group of people at Our Listening Ear holding the Certificate of Accomplishment for the coaching workshop.

our progress to date

With the support of Prison Fellowship Singapore (PSF) and National Council Against Drug Abuse (NCADA), OLE’s pilot was kick started in Aug 2022, training 16 ex-offenders in the skillset of Active Listening using coaching methodology. Our first batch of trainees graduated in Dec 2022 with both theoretical training and practicum experiences.

the impact

Through this initiative, we observed that coaching and simply being there to listen can help formerly incarcerated people work through their experiences, feelings, and obstacles. We are glad that we have supported 65 more ex-offenders to help them work through their challenges as they assimilate into the society. 

A group of people at Our Listening Ear's coaching workshop.

a heartfelt thanks

OLE’s pilot was made possible by the support from PSF led by Mr Wong Yong Wei, an over-comer himself; funding from NCADA; coaching expertise training from Executive Coach International and the many people who have chipped in one way or another. 

We felt extremely honoured that our efforts were mentioned in a recent speech by Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal bin Ibrahim (Minister of State) in an anti-drug abuse advocacy event. 

Dinner with Minister of State for Home Affairs - Inc Equality Ventures
Minister of State for Home Affairs, Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal bin Ibrahim, Mr Wong Yong Wei (an ex-offender and our project partner), Dr Angela Tan (Co-founder, IEV); Right: Mr Tee Chong Fui Sam, Director of CNB
Dinner with Terrence Goh, Deputy Commissioner (Operations and Rehabilitation), Singapore Prison Service
Terrence Goh, Deputy Commissioner (Operations and Rehabilitation), Singapore Prison Service

“In 2022, two of our UADC partners, Inc Equality Ventures and the Prison Fellowship Singapore, collaborated to launch a programme called ‘Our Listening Ear’, to equip ex-drug abusers with active listening skills derived from coaching methodologies. This programme aims to train ex-abusers to provide better support to their loved ones and other former abusers, reducing their risk of turning to drugs in difficult times.”

 – Speech by Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs & Ministry of National Development at 
Anti-drug Abuse Advocacy (A3) Network Volunteers and Partners

Ex-convicts having an interview with Inc. Equality Ventures.

next steps

Through this initiative, we have affirmed that many formerly incarcerated people, despite the multiple obstacles, are committed to making a difference in their communities. But they need help from the government, community groups, and individuals to overcome the challenges they face.

We are now in the phase of rolling out more training programs for ex-offenders who wants to support their peers and build a supportive network. We need your help to make this change happen. Drop us a message if you would like to be part of this change.