Helping youth shine

Daniel Lim

In helping to support and encourage youth, especially in the Belait District, many groups and organisations have been formed over the years to integrate youth efforts to benefit the country.

One such association that has stood the test of time since it was established in 1966 is the Belait Youth Association (PEMBELA).

While PEMBELA’s initial motto was ‘Youth that are ready to serve’, the association has since broadened its scope to have ‘A nation that is ready to serve’, as its current motto. This is reflected in the years of effort by current and former members who have had an effect on the nation as a whole, as the association continues to conduct several activities throughout the years.

These activities were some of the many that the association recalled during an appreciation ceremony held in February, which also served to highlight the efforts of current and former members who helped shape the association into what it is today.

Initially started as a home-based operation in the Belait District, PEMBELA has since expanded to operate out of the building block in the Belait District Youth and Sports Department offices, which have become a staging ground for many of their activities.

Belait Youth Association (PEMBELA) members during the Dementia Care Skills Workshop. PHOTOS: DANIEL LIM
PEMBELA members during a workshop
PEMBELA members present donations

These activities include organising several workshops such as ‘Train the Trainer Module 1-3’, aimed at promoting confidence and time management, while also featuring physical strength activities, inspirational talks and more.

Other workshops were the Youth Leadership Camp, a platform for youth to develop their skills as well as the Dementia Care Skills Workshop aimed at equipping youth with the knowledge to identify and aid those with ailments, while promoting awareness on dementia.

Activities also extend outside their headquarters, including volunteer work at the annual get-together event held in conjunction with His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s birthday celebrationas well as the National Day celebration, and gatherings that help strengthen ties with groups and organisations while serving as a platform to aid those in need.

Other activities include the ‘Me & Ramadhan’ project, where PEMBELA members prepared dishes and packed them to be distributed to underprivileged Muslim residents in the district.

Members also visited rural areas in the Belait District to assist underprivileged residents.

The association has delivered aid including food supplies, toiletries and personal items.

As a youth association, members have also made use of its network to establish connections with local communities and foreign sources which showcased the efforts to help set an example for others to follow.

The association previously received a group of Korean delegation who had arrived under the Brunei-Korea Youth Exchange Programme organised by the Youth and Sports Department. The association met the participants to showcase their work and interact through various activities.

PEMBELA also hosted the Brunei Darussalam Youth Cultural Exchange and Conference 2019. Youth and prominent figures from across the nation, along with delegates from Indonesia showcased their culture, talents and skills during plenary sessions in the Belait District, which served as a diving point for youth to actively contribute to the nation, and promote cultural diversity.

While the association has its roots in the Belait District, it also did not stop them from expanding their opportunities to interact with and help those in need outside of the district. It helps the youth members learn and gain valuable experience.

These expanded opportunities include trips to Kulai Jaya, Johor Darul Takzim in Malaysia, where youth learnt more about Zapin traditional dances as well as participated in an international event to enhance professional collaboration with non-government organisations. With a myriad of activities under their belt, the association will continue to serve the community in providing aid in line with their motto, while also acting as a platform for youth to actively contribute to the nation through meaningful and positive avenues.