Exemplifying the virtue of giving

Rizal Faisal

The eyes of an elderly widow were glistening with tears of joy when her previously dilapidated house was refurbished and returned to her recently.

The Brunei Council on Social Welfare (MKM) was behind the campaign that raised funds to rebuild the house of 80-year-old Jamping binti Haji Shawal.

Its President Haji Mohd Yusof bin Shaikh Abdul Halim said, “A total of BND48,000 was raised to rebuild Jamping’s house. Additional household items, such as furniture, beds, a refrigerator and a washing machine, were also received through public donations.”

“The house was termite-infested, with more than 60 per cent of the living quarters uninhabitable,” he said. “It was so unsafe that it could collapse at any time.”

So, the MKM went to work, first by organising a concert on January 4, put together by its youth wing. The campaign attracted a number of local artistes from various genres who agreed to participate with minimal fee.

Brunei Council on Social Welfare President Haji Mohd Yusof bin Shaikh Abdul Halim hands over the refurbished house to 80-year-old Jamping binti Haji Shawal. PHOTO: MKM

During the post-mortem at its Sungai Hanching office, chaired by the president, MKM Live 2020 Concert Organising Committee Chairperson Datin Paduka Hajah Intan binti Haji Mohd Kassim reported that BND41,152 was collected from ticket sales and direct donations. After the costs, BND27,493.45 was raised.

But the repair works would require BND39,700, which put the agency “BND12,000 short, but we had the contractor start the reconstruction anyway, while we sourced for additional donations to meet the shortfall”, said Haji Mohd Yusof.

Among the contributions came from local authorities, corporate institutions and members of the public, both in cash and building materials for the repair works.

As the revamping was expected to take up to six months, the elderly and 10 of her family members were moved to a temporary housing, provided by the Community Development Department (JAPEM).

During the handover ceremony of the refurbished house, the MKM President also unveiled a nameplate that says ‘Baitul Rizq’ or House of Sustenance to mark a new beginning for the elderly and her family.

For a number of years, the MKM had been acutely aware of the living conditions of Jamping and her family, and thus, making sure to provide them with food on a regular basis.

However, the family continued to live in fear that their half-century-old house would crumble unexpectedly. Without the financial means, all they could do was pray that the house would hold up one more day.

With a newly repaired house, Jamping felt blessed that her prayers had been answered.

“I cannot thank MKM and the donors enough,” she said. “I can only pray that they will be amply rewarded in this world and the hereafter for their generosity.”

The MKM is registered as a charitable society under the Societies Act of Brunei Darussalam that is wholly dependent on public donations to fund its charity projects. Since its inception in December 2009, it has been instrumental in numerous campaigns to assist the needy.

Its main objective is to eradicate poverty through providing assistance to the needy, including aiding families in obtaining welfare, providing temporary financial relief for families awaiting welfare, assisting students in educational needs, providing basic necessities to families on a monthly basis, and running programmes that empower the needy to break the poverty cycle. The organisation also offers assistance to those facing short-term difficulties such as the death or sudden absence of the breadwinner and victims of house fire or natural disaster.

While most of the charity projects have been concentrated in the country, the MKM has also extended assistance to the needy overseas, such as those in Bangladesh, Limbang and Miri in Malaysia and Indonesian city of Surabaya.