Children who have been abused, exploited and neglected can call the free helpline 121 seeking help following the launch of Talian ANAK 121 by Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin at the ministry’s Digadong Hall yesterday.
The latest initiative to protect children is a joint effort between the Community Development Department (JAPEM) under the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and Telekom Brunei Berhad (TelBru).
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was inked between the JAPEM under the MCYS and TelBru before the launch of Talian ANAK 121 witnessed by the minister.
The MoU was signed by JAPEM Acting Director Rostinah binti Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Sura Pahlawan Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Tahir and TelBru CEO Ahmad Jefri bin Abdul Rahman.
The TelBru CEO said, “From early 2019, TelBru has focussed in its corporate social responsibility project by paying attention to the unfortunate who need assistance and maybe exposed to danger. The Talian ANAK 121 is one of the new initiatives besides handing over donations to NGOs including the Society for the Management of Autism Related issues in Training, Education and Resources (SMARTER) Brunei, Kesejahteraan Masyarakat, Pusta Ehsan Al-Ameerah Al-Hajjah Maryam and others.”
He said, “In Talian ANAK 121, TelBru through its subsidiary Comquest Sdn Bhd shared experience and expertise to establish the call centre by creating a system for a dedicated call centre for children and the public to call a trained counsellor to either seek help or report cases like abuse, negligence and exploitation of children.
“The call centre system when fully operational will be able to come up with detailed reports on complaints received, systematic monitoring system and prepare links to coordinate immediate action or follow up action involving other agencies more effectively.”
He said TelBru worked with JAPEM in July to provide basic counselling training for experts from Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Education (SHBIE), Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD).
Another training session on counselling will be conducted before the end of October and Insya Allah the experts will be from Childline Foundation Malaysia, the CEO said.
Legislative Council members, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy (Economy) Dato Seri Paduka Dr Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin as the TelBru Chairman, permanent secretaries and deputy permanent secretaries as well as representatives of strategic partners and officials from government agencies were present.
The minister, Legislative Council members and guests also toured the 121 call centre.
Among the objectives of establishing the hotline is to protect children from abuse, exploitation and negligence as well as providing a channel of communication where the calls will be kept confidential.
The establishment of the line is also in line with the efforts of the Government of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in providing services for the care and support of the vulnerable and the less fortunate and those who are in need as well as exposed to danger.
The helpline will begin operating today from 8am to 11pm, manned by call agents or social workers who have undergone training on counselling to interact with children over the telephone.
They will also undergo training based on risk assessment from time to time in handing issues faced by callers.
To increase awareness on the new Talian ANAK 121 , JAPEM and TelBru with its strategic partners will carry out campaigns to disseminate information on the helpline to the grassroots.