Individuals with autism continue to receive support from members of the 29th Executive Development Programme for Senior Government Officers (EDPSGO) yesterday at BJAK Café, Kampong Anggerek Desa.
The Synergy Group’s Community Outreach Project aimed at helping adults with autism in improving their standard of living and gaining independence by contributing equipment and developing methods to attract customers to the Society for the Management of Autism Related issues in Training, Education and Resources (SMARTER) Brunei’s BJAK Café.
Several chairs, tables, wall fans, kitchen utensils and curtains were donated for the cafe.
The group also created online platforms to assist the cafe in expanding its reach to customers. Among the ideas proposed were online ordering system and twice daily delivery of food and drinks to registered customers, especially for nearby office workers. The system will be implemented next month in line with the capacity of SMARTER Brunei students, as a way for BJAK Cafe to adapt to changes in the current endemic situation.
Present at the event were members of the 29th EDPSGO Synergy Group, President of Smarter Brunei Pengiran Zamri bin Pengiran Haji Bujang, Secretary of Smarter Brunei Hajijah binti Moktal, members of BJAK Cafe and representatives of sponsors.
The event began with the recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah, followed by a speech from 29th EDPSGO representative Liutenent Colonel Haji Ismadi bin Haji Jumat, who highlighted that the community outreach project is based on the initiative of Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) incorporated in the 29th EDPSGO development programme as part of the effort to expose senior government officials to addressing or being more cognizant of economic and social issues.
“The project also aims to improve the operational standards of BJAK Café with the help of additional equipment and furniture and the contribution of new ideas with innovative methods using online platforms.
“The project is in line with the efforts in realising Brunei Vision 2035, towards an educated, highly skilled and successful people, quality of lives, as well as a dynamic and sustainable economy,” he added.
Liutenent Colonel Haji Ismadi thanked executive development course coordinator, senior officers and sponsors from companies and individuals, including Dato Paduka Haji Alikhan bin Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Hj Mohd Yusof, Firoz Jaya Silk House & Textile Palace, Isboh (B) Sdn Bhd, Intracorp (B) Sdn Bhd, Bahrin Mohammad & Associates – Consulting Engineers and Anggerek Puteh Family.
SMARTER Brunei has earmarked BJAK Cafe as one of the social enterprise projects aimed at providing adults with autism with employment opportunities, in line with Smarter Brunei’s mission to open more micro and small medium enterprises related to their in-house vocational courses to make adults with autism more employable.
Currently, the cafe has not been able to fully utilise its commercial potential due to allocation constraints, causing the unavailability of the first floor for customer use, due to the lack of equipment.
The multiple waves of COVID-19 over the past two years have added to the challenge of SMARTER Brunei conducting day-to-day operations with a lack of revenue, making it important for this cafe to innovate to expand its customer base while adopting the standard operating procedures (SOPs) that have been set.