Minister opens new SMARTER Brunei playground

James Kon

Children at the Society for the Management of Autism Related issues in Training, Education and Resources (SMARTER) Brunei Edge Centre in Kampong Mata-Mata got a new monkey bar playground thanks to the success of a fundraising campaign last July spearheaded by Shana Holmes through the Music Speak project.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin was the guest of honour at the officiating ceremony yesterday.

Acting CEO of SMARTER Brunei Sharifah Adila Surya binti Malai Haji Abdullah said, “This project was very emotional for me as it was the last project of our late president and my father Malai Haji Abdullah bin Malai Haji Othman.

“After SMARTER Brunei was established in 2001, my father envisioned an amazing purpose built centre that would cater to the needs of children with autism. To his last days, he spoke about how far we have come and how much more we need to achieve.”

On the project of the monkey bar playground, she said, “With the grace of Allah the Almighty answering our prayers, we were blessed by two lovely ladies Carmina and Shana Holmes in 2019. If anyone here had the pleasure of meeting my father, you would know how passionately he spoke, how rich in ideas he was and how he believed in the power of youth.

ABOVE & BELOW: Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin in a group photo; and Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan tours the new monkey bar playground. PHOTOS: JAMES KON

“I am humbled by the efforts of Shana Holmes to raising funds for the monkey bar playground. At the age of 17, she and her family through their fundraising event Music Speaks raised BND45,000 in cash or in kind for the project and renovation of some areas of the centre.”

The Acting CEO conveyed her gratitude to Shana Holmes, Carmina Holmes and the sponsors for their contributions.

Following the official launching, the minister and invited guests toured the facilities of the new monkey bar playground and the SMARTER Brunei Edge Centre.

Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Pengiran Haji Mohd Hasnan bin Pengiran Haji Ali Hassan, members of the Diplomatic Corps, sponsors and guests were also present.