SMARTER Brunei gets new playground

IZZATI JALIL

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

MINISTER of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Awg Halbi Hj Mohd Yusof yesterday officiated the opening of the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) Kids Playground at the SMARTER EDGE Centre at Kg Perpindahan Mata-Mata.

Also present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony were Permanent Secretaries at MCYS Datin Paduka Dr Hjh Norlila Dato Paduka Hj Abdul Jalil and Dato Paduka Dr Hj Affendy Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Hj Abidin.

The $20,000 playground was sponsored by CHEC, the Chinese firm behind the construction of the bridge linking Brunei’s mainland to Pulau Muara Besar (PMB).

In an interview with The Brunei Times, Yao Di who is the project director of the CHEC PMB project, said he hopes students at the Society for the Management of Autism Related Issues in Training, Education and Resources (SMARTER) can benefit from the new play area.

“When we first visited the centre, it had very little space for the children to play so we thought why not contribute and make it more comfortable for the students,” he said.

CHEC also built a sheltered walkway from the classrooms to the play area. SMARTER President Malai Hj Abdullah Malai Hj Othman thanked the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and MCYS for their support.

He called on the public to assist them in raising awareness on individuals with autism and their acceptance.

“We need the (public’s) help by being advocates of individuals with autism to ensure that they are not unfairly discriminated against their rights as people with disabilities, as well as citizens,” he said.

Malai Hj Abdullah also called for the public’s support for SMARTER’s sixth garage sale which is slated to take place on November 5 and 6. After the ribbon cutting ceremony, the MCYS minister signed the commemorative plaque together with the CHEC PMB project director. The minister also took time to mingle with the students at SMARTER and toured the new play area.

The Brunei Times

 

SMARTER Brunei to hold 2 days garage sale

LOOK forward to SMARTER Brunei’s third garage sale this coming November 5-6 and support the charitable event to help the special needs centre continue providing services and development programmes for individuals with autism.

To be held at the parking area across Royal Regalia in the capital, the third instalment of the fundraising event is hoped to bring in more support from the public as the NGO relies heavily on its own centre’s fees and donations from the public. The event will start from 7am to 10pm on Saturday, November 5 while the next day, it will be from 7am until 5pm.

SMARTER, which refers to the Society for the Management of Autism Related Issues in Training and Education Resources, was established in 2001 and is run by parents whose children are diagnosed with autism.

In a press conference at BACA Centre yesterday, Malai Hj Abdullah Malai Hj Othman, president of SMARTER Brunei,’ expressed hope that the public will continue donating to SMARTER Brunei to keep the non-profit and non-government organisation (NGO) afloat.

“The society has been facing a financial crisis for the past two years but is still standing strong to continue to advocate and facilitate the individuals with autism by providing developmental programmes,” he said.

In a statement, SMARTER Brunei requires an estimate of $50,000 per month to operate its three centres and to continue to provide development programmes to over 115 individuals with autism.

SMARTER Brunei also welcomes public donation in terms of clothes, furniture, household appliances, electronics, toys, books and stationeries, whether used or new. These will be available for sale during the two-day garage sale.

Members of the public who would like to donate items for the garage sale may drop them to any of their centres. BACA Centre is at No 822, Spg 822, Kg Jangsak; EDGE Centre, Jalan Seri Setia Satu, Kg Perpindahan Mata-Mata; and EDGE Centre, Simpang 7, Jalan McKerron, Kuala Belait.

The society also offers pick-up services where members of the public can call their office numbers during office hours at 2654812, 2420225 or their hotline number 7172991 after office hours.

 

Australian students find SMARTER Brunei programme helpful

ABDUL AZIZ ISMAIL

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

STUDENTS from Australia’s Flinders University yesterday began their three-week work attachment programme with the Society for the Management of Autism Related issues in Training, Education and Resources (SMARTER) Brunei.

According to Flinders University lecturer Debbie Smith, 10 students will take part in briefings, workshops, interacting with students with autism, conferences and other activities.

Smith, who leads the group, said the students will benefit from taking part in the programme as they look to improve their knowledge in managing autism and caring for those with autism.

“SMARTER runs a world class programme that is good and generally better than the programmes we have in Australia. The students will have a firsthand taste of what a good programme is all about,” she told The Brunei Times during their visit to the Autism EDGE Centre in Kg Perpindahan Mata-Mata yesterday. Smith was confident that the students would understand more about autism, learn how to support those with autism, gain more experience through hands-on activities and working with professionals.

“The students will go back home with great skills. I expect the students to fully participate because they will have the opportunity to learn alongside experienced staff,” she said.

One of the students, Joel Evans, said he was looking forward to work with students with autism in SMARTER.

“What makes SMARTER stand out is the relax nature... it’s the attitude they have here... it’s amazing because it is all about students,” said the 25-year-old.

Evans said the experience and knowledge that he would gain through the programme would also help him in his future career as a special needs teacher.

Demi Martin, another student from the university, said she was also looking forward to learn more.

“SMARTER is just an incredible place and it’s all about the individuals (students). It is different to anything I have seen in Australia,” said the 20-year-old.

Martin said the knowledge and experience she gains here would help her learn more on different techniques and approaches that can be used to manage and support children with autism.

The Brunei Times

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