THE Fiji Corrections Service successfully launched the Yellow Ribbon Project (YRP) in Vatukoula on Friday.
Hundreds of people from the Vatukoula community attended the launch that was held at Theodore Park, Loloma, Vatukoula.
Officiating as chief guest at the launch was the Vatukoula Gold Mines Maximo Systems manager Alisi Stark.
Commissioner of Corrections Commander Francis Kean was also present at the launch with Divisional Police Commander (Western) Marika Yalimaiwai and the Divisional Officer (Tavua).
In her official address, Ms Stark urged villages and communities to support the Yellow Ribbon Project and its efforts to reduce the rate of recidivism.
“We will face a lot of challenges but we should be firm in what we believe in and that is to encourage and support ex-offenders as they readjust to a new and better life; a life that is free from stigma,” she said.
She called for a change in mindset and working in unity “so we can raise the standards of living and improve the lives of those released from Corrections institutions”.
Primary and secondary school students participated in an oratory contest themed around the impact of the Yellow Ribbon Project and former inmates and a serving inmate delivered testimonials about their experiences.
Dog handlers from both the FCS and the Fiji Police Force and representatives from the Ministry of Health also featured at the event.