Having existed for 21 years now, the Society for the Management of Autism Related issues in Training, Education and Resources (SMARTER) Brunei was established by previous president, the late Malai Haji Abdullah bin Malai Haji Othman, from a small group of only five to nine students of families in 2001, SMARTER Brunei President Pengiran Zamri bin Pengiran Haji Bujang said.
“The late president worked tirelessly to develop and expand SMARTER Brunei, to care and protect special children and today, it has three centres and accommodates over 120 students,” he said during a religious ceremony to celebrate the centre’s 21st anniversary at its Kampong Perpindahan Mata-Mata Gadong premises yesterday.
Acting Village Head of Kampong Perpindahan Mata-Mata Gadong Pengiran Muhammad Nurramzu Nasri bin Pengiran Haji Mohammad Salleh was the guest of honour.
Vice President 1 and Acting CEO of SMARTER Brunei Sharifah Adila Surya binti Malai Haji Abdullah and Vice President 2 of SMARTER Brunei Major (Rtd) Muhammad Talip bin Muhammad Tahir were also in attendance. The SMARTER Brunei President also shared the challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic when the centres had to be temporarily closed and events cancelled, leading to a decrease in the centres’ funds.
“The lessons learnt are very valuable. Now that we are in the Endemic Phase, may Allah the Almighty ease our affairs to rebuild and restore what the pandemic has affected, and hopefully we will be able to raise funds for the centre so that SMARTER can be around for a very long time.”
The president also vowed to lead the organisation in being able to maintain working harmoniously to support and continue the late Malai Haji Abdullah’s legacy. He also expressed gratitude to the Brunei Government, private sectors, members of the public, parents, teachers, caregivers, therapists and SMARTER Brunei members for their “effort and hard work in supporting the centre”.
The event proceeded with the donation of stationery and office supplies from Samima Sdn Bhd by Managing Director Haji Hidayatullah bin Haji Tejuddin followed by a cake-cutting ceremony and the recitation of Surah Yaasiin and Tahlil before concluding with a Doa.