Meet The Beautiful People Series Story
Kanitha was rushing for her Social Work exam on a rainy evening in November 2017 when she managed to get a Grab hitch. The driver was a young, articulate lady whose name or face she can no longer recall.
As they spoke about common interests, they realised they both shared a passion to serve the community. The driver shared with Kanitha how she was a volunteer with Beautiful People and that it had a programme based in prisons. This was something Kanitha felt strongly about as she had been considering the prisons as a potential place of employment. By the end of her ride, a seed had been planted in Kanitha’s mind and she immediately went to search and read up more about Beautiful People once her exam ended.
This was how Kanitha learnt about Beautiful People and came to volunteer with its Free For Good programme and its Fundraising Team. What a fortuitous Grab ride it was for her! Free for Good is a Beautiful People programme that supports the reintegration of female ex-offenders back into society when they are discharged. Mentors first meet their mentees six months prior to their discharge. This is when mentors work together and provide support to their mentees.
Before the pandemic, weekly Saturday morning sessions were what Kanitha had looked forward to, no matter how tired she was or how bad a week she had. She found the interactions with the mentees extremely rewarding and meaningful. The mentees gave her an enthusiastic welcome each time she visited. To Kanitha, the conversations connect them all. “It is safe to say, we’ve smiled, cried, laughed and learnt together as a big family.”
Growing up, Kanitha has always had a strong inclination to work with the marginalized and to try and understand their lives better. “Many of us take for granted the lives we have, without realizing how much harder others have it. It’s easy to fall through the cracks and feel unrepresented when family and community support is not offered and individuals feel like they do not belong.”
Kanitha shares that the best achievement and most fulfilling moment would be to see all her mentees break through and pay-it-forward one day. As a mentor, Kanitha has learnt the importance of community support in making changes to an individual’s life. Having a team to hold one accountable to one’s goals goes a long way. No one in the ‘family’, whether mentor or mentee is ever truly alone.