| Khal Baharulalam |
SMARTER Brunei has been forced to put its programmes on hold following a break-in which took place in the wee hours of yesterday at the centre’s premises in Sengkurong.
This being the second time SMARTER has been broken into within the past six weeks, it has plunged the non-profit organisation into a deeper financial crisis.
Malai Haji Abdullah Malai Haji Othman, founder of SMARTER, revealed that after having secured their facilities to the best of their abilities, as per the advice of the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF), the perpetrators spared them no mercy as shards of broken glass lay scattered within the walls of the centre with several utilities hit – particularly kitchen and electrical appliances.
“Even though the property stolen isn’t considered too costly, we were utilising them in our SMARTER programmes to familiarise our students to help them get through their daily lives like normal individuals with a certain degree of independence,” said the founder.
Malai Haji Abdullah has been forced to cease SMARTER programmes until they “replenish what has been stolen”, causing a deeper dent on the financial state of SMARTER.
Earlier this year, Malai Haji Abdullah had appealed to relevant agencies in the hope of attracting more financial support to keep the centre’s operations going. While being grateful to the ongoing support from charitable organisations and members of the public alike, he admitted that the centre still struggles to cover all costs of operations – including employee salaries.
SMARTER Brunei charges parents a minimal $120 per calendar month for its services, despite the amount not being able to cover all costs.