Exhibit sells inmates’ handicrafts

National 2 minutes, 42 seconds


HANDICRAFTS produced by prisoners, which they learnt from a vocational training programme inside the correctional, are on sale at an expo launched yesterday at the Times Square Shopping Centre in Berakas.

The four-day ‘One Village, One Product Handicrafts and Agricultural Expo and Prisons Department’ exhibition is open to the public until Sunday.

It was organised by the Mukim Berakas ‘A’ Village Consultative Council in cooperation with the Prisons Department, Brunei-Muara District Office and Kg Jaya Setia/Jaya Bakti.

The Prisons Department, in a statement, stressed the inmates learnt how to make the products after undergoing a vocational training programme.

“The expo is aimed to raise public awareness on the products that inmates are capable of producing, which previously may be less well known to the public,” it said.

“It also part of the department’s effort to motivate the inmates to start up their own business or secure employment to earn a living, so they can set their own future paths once they finish serving their prison sentence,” the statement added.

Present to launch the expo yesterday was the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs, Hj Mohd ‘Abdoh Dato Seri Setia Hj Abd Salam.

Also present at the launching ceremony were Legislative Council member and Penghulu Mukim Berakas ‘A’, Yang Berhormat Hj A Ahmad Hussin, Acting Director of the Prisons Department Hj Ismail Hj Murat and Acting Brunei-Muara District Officer Misle Hj Abd Karim.

The expo also houses other locally-made handicrafts, agriculture and confectionaries from remotes areas in Brunei-Muara district such as Kg Kapok in Muara and Kg Putat of Mukim Lumapas.

In a speech, the Acting Brunei-Muara District Officer said that it is their hope to nurture and develop Brunei’s cottage industries, especially village products, into small and medium enterprises so they can contribute to the economy and provide employment to other villagers.

He said that there are 18 sale booths at the expo – eight of them from the Prisons Department and the rest from the invited village consultative councils.

Hj Ismail said the Prisons Department want to showcase the fruits of labour of the inmates who availed of the vocational training programme.

“These efforts can hopefully provide the inmates the vocational skills that have a market value, to enable them to carry their own weight, secure a better chance of employment and thus hopefully reduce the number of relapses – inmates returning back to prison,” he said.

“But remember that efforts such as this one will only bear fruition if we, including family members, all together show our support and commitment in giving these former inmates a chance to fit back into society,” he said.

Mahali Hj Marani, one of the woodwork vocational instructors, said the products were originally designed by the inmates from the Jerudong Prison and Maraburong Prison in Tutong.

These products included wooden handicrafts such as living room tables, ironing boards, framed Quranic scriptures and miniature water taxi boats for decorations.

There were also steel products such as shoe racks, flower racks and barbecue stoves.

Female inmates produced handmade scarfs, songkok (traditional Malay headwear) and bags made of bamboo.

During the exhibition yesterday, the Prisons Department held a caning demonstration and showcased their equipment like batons, anti-riot shields, helmet and handcuffs.

The Brunei Times