Answering a cry for help

Lyna Mohammad

Brunei Darussalam has, over the past several years, seen various non-governmental organisations (NGOs), higher learning institutions and established associations engage in humanitarian aid activities to help victims of natural disasters, not just locally, but also abroad.

Such initiatives are usually made possible with the support of Bruneians who are sensitive to these good causes, and who do their part as a caring society.

Religious Teachers University College of Seri Begawan (KUPU SB) is one of the higher learning institutions carrying out such initiatives. This year alone, the institution’s final year students carried out two humanitarian aid activities – the first being the humanitarian aid to victims in Lombok, followed by Lampung and Banten, both in Indonesia.

Dubbed ‘Khairat Kemanusiaan,’ both projects were ideas initiated by the Director of the Centre for Core Knowledge at KUPU SB Dr Haji Noralizam bin Haji Aliakbar, who led both activities in their mission.

Dr Haji Noralizam shared that the ideas came about with the objectives to provide students’ exposure through experiencing humanitarian missions abroad, as well as establishing ties of brotherhood with the communities affected by natural disaster.

Director of the Centre for Core Knowledge at KUPU SB Dr Haji Noralizam bin Haji Aliakbar and his team distribute treats to the children. PHOTOS: KUPU SB
The team presents a boat to villagers.

In addition, humanitarian welfare is a practical component of social responsibility that requires a group or collective involvement of university students in activities in and outside the campus and community. Thus, the Humanitarian Welfare Programme for Institutes of Higher Learning was inaugurated.

The programme encourages students to enhance awareness and care among the community, particularly students, on their social responsibility and to conduct community service projects for the harmony of the country.

Selected students were from various faculties and centres, and were chosen based on their activeness in community activities and academic performances.

Management and support funds are proceeds from the collection of contributions and sponsorship by relevant parties and individuals.

The first mission saw 16 KUPU SB students arrive in Lombok Island, Indonesia on January 1, 2019. In this mission, the team donated food to over 300 villagers of the island affected by major earthquakes in July and August last year, and helped clean up the disaster-struck areas. Food items were also donated by members of the university college and the public.

On September 18, 2019, another team embarked on a second mission. This time they headed to Lampung and Banten, which were struck by an earthquake and tsunami.

The mission involved the distribution of text books to the Madrasah Tanawiah Nurul Islam Sukaraja Kalinda in South Lampung. Dr Haji Noralizam was also invited to deliver a special lecture on Islamic economy and entrepreneurship to 150 undergraduates of Universitas Raden Intan Lampung.

In addition, the mission covered the funds for the building of a well as a source of water for religious schools affected by the tsunami, and the distribution of text books for Year 1 to Year 6 students at five primary schools.

Donations of a computer, fan, basic food necessities, clothing and cash were also presented to orphans.

The humanitarian team also visited Universitas Raden Intan Lampung, Universitas Maulana Sultan Hasanuddin Banten and Baitussa’adah Orphanage in Jakarta.

Insya Allah, KUPU SB through our Core Knowledge Centre will be visiting the community in Lombok, Lampung and Banten this coming Ramadhan,” said Dr Haji Noralizam.

“We also hope to continue humanitarian missions that will focus on Middle East countries such as Palestine and Syria in Jordan as well as neighbouring countries,” he added.