UBD students give aid to needy

National 2 minutes, 4 seconds

BRUNEI-MUARA

UNIVERSITI Brunei Darussalam students donated rice and some home essentials to poor families yesterday.

The students, who are undertaking their undergraduate degree in Brunei Studies, met the families during their survey on poverty, which was carried out as part of their final year projects.

Dk Nurul Ain Azyyati Pg Hj Nikman, one of the students, shared her surprise in finding many people living well below the quality of life that Bruneians typically enjoy.

“Not many people are aware about Bruneians living in poverty,” she said.

These Bruneians include people like 37-year-old Azman Nyiru and his family, who are surviving on less than $200 a month.

Azman is currently jobless, and says his unemployment is mostly due to the lack of available modes of transport that are within his current means. He is also a Primary Six academic qualification holder, and is living with his wife and three children in a small rented room which cost them $160 a month. Azman says they are surviving on welfare from the government.

Dk Nurul Ain Azyyati said they hope to complete the study’s report by the end of the month. She said they had interviewed people from Kg Ayer and Mukim Pengkalan Batu. Since Brunei does not have an official poverty line, she said their study takes into account various factors such as employment, debt and monthly income. According to her, they had surveyed some 15 families, and had asked about their backgrounds, training and other skills. She said most of them were unemployed and were only armed with a low level of education.

Earlier this year, during the Ninth Legislative Council meeting, poverty eradication initiatives received a boost in funding.

Relevant agencies will adopt three initiatives for reaching zero poverty, namely social support, poverty management, and eradication of poverty with an additional allocation to focus on assistance programmes, said LegCo Ex-officio member Minister of Finance II, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdul Rahman Hj Ibrahim.

To realise zero poverty, $2.2 million has been proposed for assistance programmes, an extra $1 million as compared to last year’s budget.

Aside from that, another $3 million was proposed for the Ministry of Education to help students from poor families.

“It is hoped that these efforts will help them, especially youth to free themselves from poverty, who will learn to stand on their own without continuing to depend on monetary assistance from the government or other parties,” said YB Pehin Dato Hj Rahman during the meeting.

The Brunei Times