Hindu Endowments Board halfway house first to be ISO certified

SINGAPORE - The Hindu Endowments Board (HEB)-Ashram Halfway House is the first such facility here to be ISO certified, which means that its services and programmes have met a certain standard.

It attained the ISO certification in November last year, and was presented with it on Monday by Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli.

The HEB-Ashram Halfway House, which is located in Sembawang, serves convicts who have up to a year of their jail term left and ex-offenders who have difficulty integrating into the society after leaving the prison.

It provides them with accommodation, counselling, English and computer classes as well as cooking skills, among others. There are currently 23 inmates and ex-offenders living at the halfway house.

Mr Masagos said the certification is "not an end to itself" and it is important for the halfway houses to continue to ensure that they have relevant and suitable programmes which help in the rehabilitation and reintegration of convicts and ex-offenders.

"It is important for us to provide the necessary support, not just financially but also (through) programmes... For a group of them who have stayed in prison for three, four years, going out on the streets, especially in a country like Singapore, everything would have changed. What they are familiar with doesn't exist anymore," he said.

HEB-Ashram Halfway House chairman N. Ganapathy added that the certification will have a positive impact on its fund-raising efforts, and that it will boost confidence among its inmates and the general public.

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