Bringing solace to the needy

Rizal Faisal

Since its inception in May 2011, Society for Community Outreach and Training (SCOT) has pledged to be a catalyst for sustainable poverty alleviation in Brunei Darussalam.

As a follow-up of their research study entitled An Exploratory Study of Poverty in Brunei Darussalam, SCOT now acts as a bridge on coming up with more sustainable ways and strategies to help the underprivileged by providing them with assistance in the form of resources, basic skills and support to help them move out of the vicious cycle of poverty.

In a recent meeting with the Bulletin, SCOT President Ahmad Syauqie bin Haji Satia and Vice-President Hajah Nurul Izzati Khairunnisa binti Embran spoke on the non-governmental organisation‘s (NGO’s) current state-of-missions.

One of their initiatives is Social Kitchen, a programme which trains single mothers about business, technical and marketing skills to empower them, while encouraging youth to volunteer in assisting the single mothers.

Since its formal inception by SCOT in January 2019, the online incorporation has doubled the sales compared to the previous year. In the month of Ramadhan 2019, they have expanded the project into a Ramadhan Social Kitchen. A total of 1,700 Nasi Campur at BND2.50 and 4,000 Nasi Pusu at BND0.50 was ordered. It generated an income of close to BND7,000 for the entire month.

SCOT members during their community work in Cambodia. PHOTOS: SCOT
SCOT now acts as a bridge on coming up with more sustainable ways and strategies to help the underprivileged

The initiative is in partnership with Avenue41, and Standard Chartered Bank. Meanwhile, SCOT’s Youth Against Poverty (YAP) programme, a partnership with Futuremakers SCB, has seen its fourth annual edition, bringing together local start-ups looking to initiate a social business to benefit underprivileged communities, where the winning idea is awarded BND10,000 and the runner up with BND5,000.

Kemari Farm emerged as the winner, pledging to train 50 Bruneians to become farm owners through an incubation programme that covers complete agricultural cycle of specific crops. It was awarded a 0.7-hectare plot at the Youth Development Centre.

The runner up, BenchLab, has developed an idea to build an app, ‘Ruma ke Ruma’, into an “Uber on getting massages on demand to your doorstep”.

Ten local start-ups participated in the three-day workshop which saw regional speakers from MyHarapan (Malaysia), Five Pillar Foundation (Indonesia) and The Widaad Project (Singapore) shared their insights for mentoring the participants. YAP 4.0 also saw collaboration with the Youth Development Centre.

The past year saw the collaboration between SCOTEdu and BANTU in its fourth instalment, and a five -year partnership between SCOTEdu and Organisation for Building Community Resources (OBCR), through its English Training Project Centre (ETPC) in Cambodia.

The ‘Back to School’ programme brought cheer to 50 children from primary and secondary schools who received aid in the form of school uniforms, school bags and stationery, conducted in collaboration with Petronas Carigali Brunei Ltd.

The project ensured to provide school necessities to orphaned school children, from single-parent families or low-income families and stateless children.

Annually, SCOTEdu has made partnerships with numerous NGOs and private sectors to ensure the success of the project.

The programme acts as a catalyst for the youth in fostering a passion for volunteerism and to promote education as one of the initiatives to break the poverty cycle. SCOT and have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which allowed SCOT to strengthen its mission of public private partnership in areas of project development on poverty alleviation.

Since the signing ceremony in April 2019, several projects have been innovated, such as their Social Kitchen, where customers are able to do cashless transaction to purchase food and have them delivered to their doorstep.

Through this initiative, Social Kitchen has doubled its sales compared to previous years. Another innovative solution from the partnership is the Ramadhan Charity Drive, introducing cashless transactions and bundled packages for those who would like to donate basic necessities to underprivileged families for easing their burden during the festive season.

A total of 120 families have benefitted from this initiative – a 40 per cent increase in contribution to families compared to previous years.

Since the establishment of SCOT in 2011, their charity drive has been an annual event during the festive season, visiting over 100 families across Brunei to help ease the hardship of socio-economically challenged families in the Sultanate by providing them with basic necessities.

SCOT believes that sharing the joy of giving from one being to another could also be a humbling experience to members of the public that brings about the spirit of togetherness of the Bruneian people.

The team at SCOT said that their Ramadhan Charity Drive 2019 saw participation of over 40 volunteers who distributed the household necessities to 120 families across all four districts.

The Ramadhan Charity Drive is in collaboration with and DST Ihsan Kasih.

SCOT brought in Hoco Agency to partner with them on Ummi Bags, another innovative initiative to raise funds through merchandise ie shopping tote bags, to support and empower single-mothers with start-up capital for their entrepreneurial ideas.

SCOT also participated in DARe’s (Darussalam Enterprise) MSME Festival in March 2019 and sold over 600 bags, raising over BND6,000 in sales. “The Ummi Bag is also a strategic marketing campaign for SCOT as it carries the brand,” shared the SCOT team in the recent meet-up.

For their outreach beyond borders, SCOT partnered with organisations in Cambodia, making it possible to organise a Korban and Aqiqah programme, first by inviting Bruneians who wish to purchase the deed.

The programme proved to be a success when 14 cows and 20 sheep were ordered for Korban and Aqiqah in conjunction with Hari Raya Aidiladha 2019 and later distributed to underprivileged communities in Cambodia.