Youth raises $2k for homeless family

National 2 minutes, 17 seconds

BELAIT

A YOUTH from Belait has raised over $2,000 for a homeless family living in the canteen of OKPB Bukit Sawat Primary School since May.

The donation, raised over a period of three months by Bebee Babussalam Chang Saifullah, was handed over to the Headmistress of OKPB Bukit Sawat Primary School's Headmistress Raidah Hj June yesterday to be used for the family's household necessities.

“I first heard about the family's plight through a news report in The Brunei Times at the beginning of June, and knew I wanted to do something to help,” said the 19-year-old.

After visiting the school located in inner, rural Belait to meet the headmistress and the family's mother Nur Liyana Abdullah Nanting, Bebee began reaching out to her close family and friends to see who was willing to lend a helping hand.

“Hearing the family's story, many of those close to me were willing to help, so we pooled our resources together to do our part,” she said.

According to the family's mother Nur Liyana Abdullah Nanting, the family of six had been living out of a loosely constructed zinc shack on her husband's plot of land in Sg Mau, after leaving her job at a sawmill which provided accommodation. The family moved into the school canteen after the school's headmistress noticed that three of her four children who study at OKPB Bukit Sawat appeared to be stressed and lethargic due to their living conditions.

“The teachers here were noticing that they were coming in looking very tired, not being able to focus in class. We sat them aside and talked to them, which is how we found out about them living in the zinc shelter,” said the headmistress.

“All three of her boys will sit for the Primary School Assesment (PSR) next month, so when we learned of their problem I immediately offered the school's canteen as it was not being used.”

She said that assistance from the public, which has poured in for the family since their situation was made known through news reports, has rekindled the spirit and motivation of the family's children to study harder.

“Organisations have provided food, new clothes and shoes, so the boys have what they need and are in the mental state to push hard. Living opposite the school also makes sure attendance is never an issue,” said Raidah.

Discussions for the family to be built a house on their plot of land are currently ongoing amongst government authorities. The family previously had a house which was reduced to ash in a fire in 2013. Nur Liyana and her husband Md Jeffrey Mohd Salleh are currently unemployed, both having worked for sawmills in the past, but eventually stopped claiming they had health problems.

The Brunei Times