Youth volunteers commitment lauded

James Kon

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin in an impromptu message conveyed a heartfelt appreciation and thanks, on behalf of the people of Brunei, to youth volunteers for the commitment and sacrifice during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tribute to the youth volunteers of Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) was made during the launch of the sixth edition of Youth News in conjunction with Youth Volunteers’ 300 days of establishment, and the presentation of donation from Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) to youth volunteers at the Indoor Stadium yesterday.

Youth Volunteers Operation Centre’s Head of Administration and Finance Muhammad Abdul Wafi bin Haji Sofian said on March 9, 2020, Brunei recorded its first COVID-19 case which led to the establishment of the COVID-19 Youth Volunteers. Four leaders from local associations and youth movements set up the group to offer assistance to frontliners.

“On March 17, 2020, the Youth Volunteers registered online followed by the formation of a committee. It began its operations at Pusat Bahagia in Kampong Pulaie, and was later moved to Indoor Stadium where the members continue to operate today.

“Initially, the main task of Youth Volunteers was to assist the Ministry of Health (MoH) in terms of logistics at Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital and local health centres, led by Mohammad Mazni Latif bin Abdullah. Youth Volunteers were then assigned to isolation centres led by Muhammad Haziq Hisyam bin Mohd Zaki.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin in a group photo with BIBD Acting Chief Operating Officer Haji Minorhadi bin Haji Mirhassan and Youth Volunteers Operation Centre’s Head of Administration and Finance Muhammad Abdul Wafi bin Haji Sofian during the event. PHOTO: JAMES KON

“We were then assigned to Brunei International Airport, led by Haji Muhammad Iqbal bin Haji Damit, to assist new arrivals in the country before being transported to isolation centres,” said Muhammad Abdul Wafi.

“Since April 16, 2020, Youth Volunteers’ tasks have expanded to community works with Community Development Department, Youth and Sports Department and other youth associations. The task was led by Mohammad Ashmeer Imtiaz Ahmad as Head of Youth Volunteers Community Division of Youth Volunteers Centre,” he added.

He also shared on the monthly activities of the community division which cover the assistance in the distribution of welfare pension and allowance at the end of the month, helping Muslim congregation during Friday prayers and distribution of food to those in need.

The organisation also took part in Korban meat distribution to houses during Hari Raya Aidiladha, World Children’s Day celebration, the blood donation campaign, sign language activities, charity and welfare work.

“After 299 days of operation, 2,511 individuals have registered under Youth Volunteers. Some 48,000 have been deployed since its inception, an average of 143 individuals on duty a day,” he said.

On the tasks and involvement of the Youth Volunteers, Muhammad Abdul Wafi said, “Although the tasks carried low risk, safety measures were given serious attention to ensure volunteers comply with the procedures issued by the Ministry of Health (MoH).”

The event proceeded with the unveiling of the sixth edition of Youth News.

The publication is a joint effort from writers, photographer and graphic designer led by Lenna Norsusilanita binti Bahari, who is also the main writer and assistant head of media and public relations of Youth Volunteers.

It continued with BIBD Acting Chief Operating Officer Haji Minorhadi bin Haji Mirhassan presenting vests and personal protective equipment (PPEs) to the organisation.