SMARTER hires autistic individuals for light labour work

National 1 minute, 48 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE Society for the Management of Autism Related issues in Training, Education and Resources (SMARTER) Brunei has hired 15 individuals with autism to do light labour work.

SMARTER President Malai Hj Abdullah Malai Hj Othman said the students are working at a rate of $2.50 per hour under some of its companies such as Washington Bakery and a shop in Wisma Jaya.

SMARTER Assistant Director of Administration Sharifah Adila Surya, meanwhile, said the 15 students from the Brunei Autism Centre for Adults (BACA) are either working as shop assistants or are baking and packing cookies to be sold to The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf as well as NBT (Brunei) Sdn Bhd.

Speaking on the sidelines of the World Autism Awareness Day observance at the Times Square Shopping Centre, she said many companies have expressed an interest in hiring autistic individuals.

Lourdes R Radovan, SMARTER’s deputy director of Clinical Practice, said some of the students are not yet capable of working the normal eight-hour working shift. This is why they are hired by SMARTER first to do light labour work.

The autistic students attend training at BACA centre – launched in 2011 – to help prepare them for life outside of the centre.

Students at the centre receive training as shop assistants, baking, computer, electronics, office work, electrical and carpentry.

This year’s World Autism Day carries the theme “SMARTER’s MOVE for Autism”.

“Our theme is MOVE for Autism which means motivate, create opportunities, give them a voice and empower them to be self reliant, become a productive and contributing member of society,” said Malai Hj Abdullah.

Present to launch the event was Minister of Home Affairs Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Abu Bakar Hj Apong.

During the event, Malai Hj Abdullah handed over 14 donation boxes to Operation Head of Jolibee Brunei Angelito Perias.

The boxes will be placed at all 14 Jollibee outlets in the country to allow for donations to the NGO.

The minister also launched the two-day garage sale at the Brunei Tennis Club.

World Autism Awareness Day was established on December 18, 2007 by the United Nations to raise public awareness of autism.

The Brunei Times