LIFE, LIBERTY AND
THE PURSUIT OF FREEDOM TOGETHER
Free for good
If we are all prisoners of life, then together, Susie and Yanna broke the chains that had bound them. A Big Sister and Little Sister journey that began behind bars at the Changi Women’s Prison, continues in the form of an enduring friendship.
Yanna had been sentenced for drug-trafficking and was incarcerated for three and a half years. Susie, a former high-powered advertising executive turned volunteer leader was running a four-month pre-release prison programme called “Free For Good” at Changi Women’s Prison.
“We all have our inner prisons,” says Susie. “What keeps us trapped? Blame, fear, guilt, regret, shame? We share the same human condition but in different prison environments.”
Susie’s prison had been a corporate jungle that held her captive in million-dollar deals and never-ending work days. Her liberation? Volunteering with Beautiful People as a big sister. “I feel strongly about empowering women,” says Susie.
Susie found her calling and a deep sense of satisfaction in working with women like Yanna. “I am what I am because of who we all are,” goes the old African saying, a belief Susie subscribes to.
Yanna’s youthful search for love took her through many trials and tribulations culminating in a dramatic drug bust in front for her 8-year-old son. All her life, she had been weighed down by a sense of being unwanted and unloved. It led her on a path that took her from a life of drugs to a life behind bars.
She had been barren of strong female role models throughout her life. Meeting Susie through the Free For Good programme was a turning point. “It instilled a positive aura in me. It taught me how to love myself,” she says.
The love Yanna found in the Beautiful People community was the start of her inner journey towards self-love and true liberty. Breaking free of the chains of the past liberates not only her, but also her son, who will have a strong role model in her.
Susie and Yanna broke free of their respective inner prisons. They are now free for good together. Because when you find true freedom, the beautiful journey is only just beginning.