Delivering groceries might not be the most glamourous job, but for some, it represents a second chance that they might never get otherwise. This is the mission behind Singapore Delivery Services (SDS) – a grocery-delivering social enterprise that employs ex-offenders, low-income individuals, and individuals with disabilities.
SDS is the brainchild of Josephine, an entrepreneur with a heart for giving back.
Josephine chose the delivery sector for one simple reason – there are little or no barriers to entry. Yet, even a straightforward job like this presents multiple challenges for these individuals.
For instance, many ex-offenders are incarcerated for years at a time. Meanwhile, technology advances without them. Upon release, they find themselves bombarded by an array of new technology, leaving them intimidated and overwhelmed.
For Josephine, working with these communities involved a steep learning curve on how best to help. With many of them lacking proper work experience, she has to equip them with the most basic of skills like calling customers, how to use a GPS, or even how to communicate in a well-mannered way.
Despite the challenges, Josephine is heartened when she can make a difference in the lives of these marginalized individuals.
She shares with us multiple anecdotes of individuals who have benefitted from SDS. Amongst them is Famit, an ex-offender who had been in and out of prison for 12 years prior to joining SDS. Upon release from his most recent six-year stint, Famit’s confidence was in the pits.
Josephine provided Famit with not just a job, but also the support to boost his confidence. She would accompany him to deliveries, which shocked him as he couldn’t comprehend why “a woman like [her] can go delivery with him”. Today, Famit is reconciled with his family, married, and walking the straight and narrow.
Beyond ex-offenders, SDS has also been changing the lives of low-income individuals and persons-with-disabilities. From helping low-income families clear off massive debts, to helping persons-with-disabilities find stable employment, Josephine is dedicated to giving them a second chance.
She hopes that society will partner with her, and these communities, to dole out second chances. She firmly believes that “if society is willing to help, ex-convicts will have a more stable position in our society, and persons-with-disabilities will not be job-hoppers”, among other benefits.
As long as these individuals are willing to give themselves a second chance, Josephine is there to help. The question is, will you?