Social Kitchen ‘aroma’ spreads all over

Rizal Faisal

The Society for Community Outreach and Training (SCOT) has come a long way since its inception in 2011 with its various programmes.

One such programme, the Social Kitchen, is an initiative to provide entrepreneurial opportunities for socio-economically disadvantaged communities, especially single mothers, to cater their home-cooked meals to events or as donations to mosques across Brunei.

The initiative functions as a social enterprise aimed at tackling social issues such as unemployment, and later identify niche skills of the socioeconomically disadvantaged that can be turned into entrepreneurship.

It also provides a platform for underprivileged participants to gain business, financial management and marketing skills to succeed in their businesses.

The project is in partnership with local start-up Kadai Runcit, allowing customers the convenience of ordering and maing payments online.

Meal preparations at the Youth Development Centre kitchen. PHOTO: SCOT

Since the Social Kitchen’s inception in 2019, it expanded into a Ramadhan Social Kitchen, which sold 1,700 packs of nasi campur and over 4,000 packs of nasi pusu. A total income of around BND7,000 was generated from the month alone.

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the project morphed into the ‘Social Kitchen Friday Edition’ providing employment opportunities to a couple of single mothers. These women prepared over 3,500 packs of meals every day since March 18, 2020 until the end of last Ramadhan.

The packed meals were distributed to the COVID-19 frontliners, medical staff, volunteers and underprivileged communities.

According to the team at SCOT, the Social Kitchen-Friday Edition has received an overwhelming response from the public and corporates that they decided to carry on with the project every Friday until September 25. The Friday edition shifted from the original Social Kitchen project to provide 200 lunch meals every Friday to frontliners and selected mosques as well as to the Friday prayer congregants.

Preparations of the meals are made at the Youth Development Centre’s kitchen at Kampong Tanah Jambu where the single mothers are assisted by six members of SCOT as kitchen staff.

The kitchen operates according to measures set by the Ministry of Health (MoH) with social distancing procedures that limit the number of people allowed in the kitchen and the strictest hygiene practices.

Kadai Runcit delivers the ingredients on a weekly basis and the meals are then distributed to selected mosques by SCOT members after Friday prayers.

On August 7, the Social Kitchen Friday Edition distributed about 100 meals at Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque in Kampong Mentiri.

The team at SCOT hopes to continue providing single mothers the opportunity to earn an extra income and improve their good deeds by giving sedekah (charity).

Friday Social Kitchen Project leader Fatin Oldi said the Friday Edition depends on the response and support from the public adding that they might even come back with a different edition of the Social Kitchen.

“Our plans are to provide more opportunities for single mothers to attain a sustainable income so as to be less reliant on any financial assistance,” said Fatin. “We encourage further public support to enable the Social Kitchen to be a solid business venture that provides the wider community with delicious food,” she added.