If everyone was afraid to play their part, then who was going to help the nation in battling the pandemic?
Mohd Abdul Hadif bin Haji Mohd Raduan, a third year student at Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA), shared this sentiment when asked about his volunteer work as part of a high risk deployment team at the height of the pandemic.
His tasks included swabbing potential cases for antigen rapid testing, supporting the Emergency Medical Ambulance Services, delivering oximeters to COVID-19 patients and working on the hotline.
When he joined as a volunteer under the Brunei Darussalam Red Crescent Society, the COVID-19 situation was “very critical”, he said, adding that sometimes daily infections reached thousands.
“However, if everyone is afraid, who will stand to fight this battle?” he asked during an interview with the Bulletin. “Therefore, with a strong heart and determination and with the support of family and friends, I found courage.”
Some 20 of his peers from UNISSA had volunteered to take part in the COVID-19 ‘frontlines’.
Nurul Jarirah binti Johari was one of them. “For eight months, I performed my duty as a COVID-19 youth volunteer under the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and I was allocated at an isolation centre in Belait District,” she shared with the Bulletin.
“At that time, most of my tasks were in administration, where I interacted with recovered and new COVID-19 patients.”
“There were times people were fearful or stayed away from us as they were afraid that we might infect them. This did not make us weak. Instead, it made our hearts stronger. We were willing to help the nation when it really needed us.”
“We understood that their perception might be different from us. We also knew that everyone was being protective and scared at the same time.”
Aside from volunteering, Nurul Jarirfah took fundraising activities, such as a collaborative project with the Royal Brunei Land Forces (RBLF) and her own project ‘Stronger Together’, coordinated by the Al-Qudwah Team of UNISSA.
Speaking on what she had learnt during that time, she said, “It was tremendous and I treasure all the things that I experienced. It shaped me to become a grateful and better person in life.”
“Since we directly interacted with COVID-19 patients, we have to acknowledge that our work significantly exposed us to the virus.
“Before we went home or went out in public, we needed to ensure that we were cautious, ensured cleanliness and fully sanitised so that we would not endanger others.”
“Alhamdulillah, aside from experience that we have gained, we also express our gratitude to the government for giving us the allowance for frontliners.”
UNISSA student Nazifa Nabila binti Dr Haji Ismuhadi said she volunteered as a frontliner during the second wave of COVID-19.
“At that time, I was tasked at the BRC call centre at the Brunei Malay Teachers Association (PGGMB) building in the capital to manage and support the health advice line, including addressing the issue of BruHealth colour code.
“Later, I was tasked to deliver oximeters to positive COVID-19 patients’ houses as well as distribute hygiene packs containing two art kits, Panadol, medicine for cough and Vitamin C.”
Speaking on handling such challenges, Nazifa added that it was a whole new experience for her and shared that this had made her more mature and grateful, particularly in terms of time management and working experience.