MKM seeking space to expand

National 3 minutes, 10 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE Council of Social Welfare (MKM) is looking to rent out space to accommodate the growing number of activities it organises.

Speaking to The Brunei Times, MKM member Yusof Halim gave a summary of the activities they plan to carry out this year, all of which would require space, including for storing donated items, transit housing and a monthly feeding programme for the underprivileged.

“Because of all the activities we’re doing, we’re running out of space,” said Yusof.

For example, he said, the rented space would be used as transit housing for those who suddenly found themselves without a place to stay, such as a family whose sole breadwinner died, became physically incapacitated or ran afoul of the law and was imprisoned. The association provides temporary accommodation in such cases until permanent arrangements can be made.

“Ultimately, we try to find a permanent solution for people like them. But we have people knocking on our door with no place to stay and children who haven’t eaten, and if you’re in this kind of work, you have to be prepared for that. People who are desperate will come to you. How do you turn them away?” said Yusof.

He said the space would also serve as a place to do their administrative work more efficiently.

“The clothes we collected so far, we have some at other places already. This is just the first week. There will be a lot more, and we really need the space.”

He said once the association sorted out the clothes, put it in boxes and stored it at members’ homes, they would bring it back to their address in Kg Sungai Akar during Ramadhan, as not many members actually have places to store it.

Yusof said this is just for the clothing distribution for Hari Raya, while the rest of MKM’s projects such as its ongoing project of providing basic food necessities to 19 families would require bulk purchases of rice and cooking oil to be more efficient, which currently can’t be done due to a lack of space.

He said aside from being used for its activities, they could also turn the space into a place to sell the extra items that didn’t get distributed and put that back into helping the needy.

“If we have space for all of the donated items we collect, there will be extra items. We won’t be able to distribute everything, so we’ll keep them for when there’s a fire disaster and so on. But if we have space, we can do what Oxfam did. We can actually sell the surplus items and use the money to help the needy,” he said.

“We run all these activities for the needy to empower them, so we really need space. Your reward wouldn’t be the monthly rental, but it would be pahala,” said Yusof.

The MKM was registered under the Societies Act of Negara Brunei Darussalam in 2006. Its current president is Datin Paduka Hjh Intan Haji Md Kassim.

The association provides assistance to needy residents of Brunei such as directing and helping eligible families get welfare assistance from the government, giving temporary assistance to eligible families who are waiting for government welfare, assisting needy students with school finances, providing basic necessities to deserving families on a monthly basis and running programs empowering the needy to break out of the poverty cycle.

They also assist those who find themselves in temporary difficulties such as the loss of the family breadwinner, fire victims and victims of natural disasters.

Throughout the year, the MKM organises daily, weekly and monthly projects such as the Fidyah School Feeding Programme, Legal Advice and Advisory Clinic, providing food to the needy on a monthly basis and Ramadhan projects.

The Brunei Times