April 18, 2018
Borneo Bulletin | Danial Norjidi |
A GROUP of five youths is looking to tackle poverty with the help of a project called Mobile Dream Centre that will provide skill enhancement to underprivileged families by bringing skill-learning opportunities to them through a portable facility.
The team behind the Mobile Dream Centre project recently became the recipients of a B$1,000 grant after being named the winners of the ‘Youth Against Poverty’ (YAP) workshop, during a presentation and closing ceremony on April 15.
The project aims to empower underprivileged families to become independent from financial aid and enhancing their skills by using a portable facility that will cater to the needs of every single family member.
It was created by Ahmad Syauqie bin Haji Satia, Bibi Marcell binti Kula, Majdurano Georgina binti Majallah Sain, Masura bin Riang and Rezelena anak Lijar – the latter four are members of the La Vida Association of Brunei Darussalam, a local non-governmental organisation.
Their goal is to tackle poverty by giving these families the necessary skills and opportunities to achieve their dreams and break the cycle of poverty.
Team representative 19-year-old Ahmad Syauqie has just finished his ‘A’ Level and is waiting to enter university in August. In an interview with the Bulletin, he explained that the Mobile Dream Centre will give underprivileged families access to skill enhancement, noting that they often are not able to get the skills because they do not have access.
Ahmad Syauqie bin Haji Satia from the Mobile Dream Centre in an interview with the Bulletin. – RAHWANI ZAHARI
“So we’re trying to break that barrier and bring the skills to them, rather than them going to the skills. It’s us bringing it towards them,” he said.
On how the idea came about, he shared, “During our workshop in October last year, we had a group discussion on how we can help break the cycle of poverty. We identified the problems first and found that most of these underprivileged families are dependent on welfare.”
He said that they proceeded to tackle various questions to get to the root cause. “Why are they dependent? Is it because they haven’t got jobs and can’t get employed? Why can’t they get employed? It’s because they don’t have the skills. Why haven’t they got the skills? We tried to find the root of the problems and then from it we understood that we need to enhance their skills in order to do so.
“To do that we have to bring it to them,” he continued.
“Working with La Vida – because they work with a lot of these underprivileged families, they have experience with it, so they spoke from their own experience and what they understood – this idea came about. So rather than focussing on one demographic of mothers or fathers or youth, we try to focus on them as a whole; on the family as a unit.”
Speaking on the grant that the team received after taking part in the YAP programme, he said that it will definitely help them get the project going.
In addition to the grant, he said, the victory here is that they had the platform to voice their opinion and to collaborate with the government and non-governmental organisations to create a change.
“That in itself is already a victory to me,” he said. “I had the opportunity to work with these wonderful people to create a change in our community, to break the cycle of poverty and to make a better place for underprivileged families.”
On what is next for them, he said, “As a team we have to really sit down and discuss what our next step is, and in this sense, I think it would be to find expertise and collaborate with other organisations.
“A lot of people are aware now… Now that our social network is larger, we can go towards them to help us with our project. I think that’s our next step.”
Commenting on how they intend to ensure the sustainability of the project, he said, “By monitoring them, making sure there is progress and that it doesn’t stop at one stage.
“We have to see it for the long term. We have to continuously monitor their progress, continuously make sure that they are doing something, that they aren’t becoming stagnant and that they are moving forward.
“Even if there’s only a little bit of progress, as long as there’s progress then that will be enough for us to make this continuously sustainable, and one day if they become successful families, they can be our experts, because they will experience it themselves.”
Adding on, he shared a message for youths in the country, saying, “Be aware and be committed, because a lot of people have great ideas, but it takes great people to commit to those great ideas. So don’t just have an idea, commit to it, work hard for it and only then will we see progress. Progress doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of hard work and commitment for it to change. So if you want change you have to commit to it.”
The YAP workshop is a community outreach training programme aimed at young leaders to stimulate interest and knowledge around the issue of poverty in Brunei Darussalam. It was organised by the Society for Community Outreach and Training (SCOT) and supported by Progresif Cellular Sdn Bhd.
The workshop carried the theme ‘Breaking the Cycle’ and, following on from its pilot programme in 2016, it focussed on training young leaders through the exposure of issues, developing their critical-thinking abilities and giving them opportunity to explore their solutions through project implementation.