SMARTER chief rules out fee hike

National 1 minute, 46 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

SMARTER’s president yesterday assured that he will continuously seek ways to keep the society afloat without sacrificing its core aim of providing service to those who have autism.

SMARTER refers to Society for the Management of Autism Related Issues in Training, Education and Resources.

In an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday, Malai Hj Abdullah Hj Malai Othman, said that he refuses to increase the fee as it might burden parents who really need the programme provided at the school.

“Increasing the fee is not a solution (to remaining sustainable) because if I increase it my 115 students or family will drop. It’s not affordable, so are you trying to make money or truly support people who needs it?” he said at the sidelines of a garage sale organised by SMARTER to raise funds for the school.

He added that although most of the students at SMARTER do not come from underprivileged families, raising school fee may deter some parents from giving their kids with autism the right sort of programme such as the one provided at SMARTER.

According to Malai Hj Abdullah, fund raising events along with SMARTER’s sustainability projects such as the bakery, 3R (reduce, reuse and recycle) has been helping fund the society.

“The sustainability projects have been helping to keep us afloat... It could be nice to be above the water level, but it’s just part of the challenges (the society has to face and embrace),” Malai Hj Abdullah said.

This, he stressed, is definition of being a social entrepreneur, whereby there is intention to assist people and the assistance is rendered properly.

Hence, he said, this is why the society organised a two-day garage sale as he wanted the families to be committed and get involved.

“(Increasing SMARTER school fees) is not the solution as it may add more problems to the student’s family,” said Malai Hj Abdullah.

According to the SMARTER president, increasing the fee is merely a short-term solution.

According to Malai Hj Abdullah, the third garage sale generated $5,000 on Saturday alone with sales continuing to grow throughout yesterday.

The Brunei Times