As it is the month of Ramadan, our team at Muslyfe took an inside look at Society for Community Outreach and Training’s (SCOT) initiative, under the Youth Against Poverty Program. One of the team called “Women In Power” helps mothers of Brunei, that they can reach to, who have little to no source of income to feed their family. Not only are they providing them with necessities, but they are also empowering them to be entrepreneurial and provide them a training ground to improve their business model over time.
Since the very beginning of Ramadan, the youths at SCOT have helped the mothers in preparing a simple yet fulfilling ‘nasi bungkus’ which comprises of rice and chicken, selling them at $1.50 each. On every Saturday, they managed to produce about 200 containers of food (or more) which some comes along with orders from the public and some also comes in Sedakah to be distributed by SCOT to different mosques in Brunei for the public to break their fast.
While in the kitchen, the smell of savoury and fragrant chicken curry fills the air, pulling me to take a peek into the big cooking pot. There are four mothers for this workshop we attended that day. Some of them are not entitled to welfare benefits, and some finds it hard to get a job to support herself and her family due to her age. So, we sat down with one of the mothers, Dk Nur Laila, 27, to talk about how she feels about this initiative. She, who has five children, where her eldest is seven years old and her youngest is only 5 months old. Being in a situation where she has to properly finance her children who depends on herself, she feels thankful to SCOT for giving them a head start, and wishes to start selling independently on her own someday to make more money to support her family. She indeed feels very grateful as she now can support her family not only by depending on her welfare benefits from the government but also from her own self. Among her other specialties than this nasi bungkus include sambal tahai, sambal pusu, nasi briyani, nasi ayam which she mentioned replicate the taste from Thien Thien (a popular Chinese restaurant in Brunei, famous for their chicken rice)! She also did not left out a recipe from her beloved father which is their family favourite spaghetti.
In an interview with a representative from SCOT, Syahmi, 18, who has just finished his Advanced Levels and is currently waiting to attend university, recalls the previous year when SCOT had an outreach training program called “Youth Against Poverty Workshop”, which aims to seek out young leaders to address the issues of poverty in Brunei.
How did the “Women In Power” initiative come about?
During the workshop for Youth Against Poverty, we were given a task: a project to tackle poverty in Brunei. During that said project, we had a charity drive where we made a visit to a house in Lumapas, to one of the underprivileged families, who happened to be a single mother. We engaged with her and heard her story, and because there’s a number of non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) in Brunei already targeting children, and the demographic for single mothers is often underrepresented, we decided that for our Youth Against Poverty (YAP) project, we would aim to help these single mothers.
How do you hope this will impact the society?
NGO’s that help the underprivileged children, it is not always one way. There needs to be support from the parents. When the parents do not have proper education, they will not put high importance to it, and thus, the children might follow in the footsteps of the parents. By providing training and helping them get out of poverty, we hope that the children will follow and look up to their parents’ success, and to financially support themselves. From that, we want to break the cycle of poverty in Brunei. It is hoped that the poverty cycle will not repeat for the future generations.
This week is the third session of the workshop, how is the outcome so far?
We were given a project by SCOT, called Projek SCOT Sedekah, to distribute a minimum of 100 nasi bungkus to mosques in Brunei. During the first session, we only made 120 packets. The following week, Alhamdulillah, we received orders from the public who reached out to us, and we managed to distribute almost 300 packets per week. This week we are distributing 252 packets.
How can the public reach if they are interested in ordering for their own?
The rice packets are distributed all over in Brunei and is labelled with SCOT’s contact details. If the public is interested, they can send us a message via direct message on Instagram at @scot_brunei or +673 8221109.
Our Muslyfe team feels very grateful that we were given the opportunity to see this with our own eyes and to hear their stories. Sometimes, we tend to forget that these things happen, and that there are people out there suffering with financial problems. It is so easy to give an extra hand to help, and the little things such as that, matter and impacts one’s life wholly. This is an inspiring project and kudos to SCOT for initiating this to not only help single mothers build a sustainable future for themselves, but also to help lift the burden of the government. May Allah SWT reward these loving and rewarding mothers, and everyone that is involved, with abundance of rezeki and happiness in life.