Home upgrade for three converts

National 2 minutes, 11 seconds

BELAIT

THREE Muslim converts from inner, rural Belait had their homes upgraded recently as part of a joint collaboration between Butra Heidelberg Cement (BHC) and the Islamic Dakwah Centre (PDI).

The three families from the Mukims of Liang, Labi and Bukit Sawat are part of a select group of five from Belait and Tutong identified by PDI last year for the second cycle of BHC’s Building Hope project which aims to restore and renovate homes belonging to the less fortunate.

BHC magazine’s project director Stuart Lee said the upgrades were completed by the end of 2015, and highlighted that this was the first time the company had collaborated to reach out to families in Belait.

“We worked with the Community Development Department (JAPEM) for the first cycle back in 2014, so this time around we decided to collaborate with PDI to help converts,” said Lee.

Hamzah Abdullah Hap, 77, from Kg Merangking Hilir, Bukit Sawat has already began making use of his new extension to his wooden stilt house, which allows his family of four children and grandchildren to have a separate living space from their bedroom.

“Before the extension we had no separate living or bedroom, we just had a kitchen, and then a small space where we slept, ate and spent time together,” said Hamzah, who embraced Islam last year.

His wife Siti Zahara Abdullah, who was discharged from the Suri Seri Begawan Hospital last week after being admitted for four days due to high blood pressure, pointed out a tall set of cement steps connecting an off-road track from the main road down into their yard – built as part of the project – as “huge convenience”.

“Previously we would just walk or climb up a dirt hill to get to our car, but during the rainy season things would get very unsafe,” said Siti Zahara.

In Kg Tapang Lupak, Labi, Rahmat Abullah and his family of seven got a new roof, and had their old and rotting wood panels replaced.

The 70-year-old said that the upgrades were the first real maintenance works carried out on the house in 20 years, due to the family’s limited finances.

“For years, my roof would leak, and eventually damage and rot the wood beneath it. I sought help and applied to PDI and am very happy they could do something about it,” said Rahmat, who previously worked at the Public Works Department.

Similar to the first edition of Building Hope, Radio Televisyen Brunei is recording the restoration and renovation works being carried out at the houses and are planning to air the footage in a documentary format.

The Brunei Times