Pusat Ehsan seeks more funding

National 1 minute, 54 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

PUSAT Ehsan is seeking more private donors to fund the expansion and redevelopment of the special needs centre, said a member of its board of trustees yesterday.

Hj Ahmad Hj Abdul Rahman, head of policy and planning for the centre, said Pusat Ehsan wants to focus on increasing capacity to accommodate more students with special needs.

“We want to be able to increase our intake but not lose the quality of our services, so we can serve persons with disabilities in this country,” he told The Brunei Times yesterday.

“But to do that we need to build more resources to bring in more teachers and students.”

A new $2 million rehabilitation block is currently under construction as part of Phase 1 of Pusat Ehsan’s redevelopment.

The block will provide a larger facility for physical therapy, as well as a therapeutic garden, pond and gymnasium.

The rehab block is the first step in the centre’s 10-year redevelopment masterplan, which aims to upgrade the centre with a new school block, vocational training block, multi-purpose hall, canteen and nursery.

“The next phase is providing education and classrooms. We want to focus on providing a sound education as well as practical skills for our students,” said Hj Ahmad.

He added that it takes about $40,000 to cover the centre’s operational costs each month, including teachers’ salaries. The funds are sourced from public donations, charity events and annual fund-raising activities.

Several private donors have also come forward to donate building materials for the redevelopment of the centre, as well as contribute money towards training of teachers and therapists.

Hj Ahmad said the completion date for the entire redevelopment project depends largely on cash flow and from where they can source the funds.

“We endeavour to find financial resources for the future phases as soon as possible in order to provide more robust services to our students, and to InsyaAllah, increase our capacity to take on more students for the wider benefit of the community of persons with disabilities.”

Pusat Ehsan is a charity for individuals with special needs, providing special education, training, care and rehabilitation for the physically and intellectually-challenged.

There are 156 special needs students currently registered at the centre’s headquarters in Bengkurong and another 53 students at its Kuala Belait Branch.

The Brunei Times