Humanitarian Affairs Curtin Sarawak lends a helping hand in Brunei

The volunteers at Pusat Bahagia Eric Goh.

Miri – 11 May 2016 – Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) student organisation Humanitarian Affairs Curtin Sarawak (HACS) recently organised a community engagement project, Building Brunei Abroad Programme, in neighbouring Brunei Darussalam.

14 volunteers from HACS led by organising chairperson and Bruneian undergraduate student Nurul Qumariyyah binti Haji Abdul Wahab participated in the four-day project in Kuala Belait. It was organised to engage with the less fortunate in Kuala Belait in the Belait District, including visits to Pusat Bahagia Eric Goh, the Seria Old Folks Home and Menderam Besar Longhouse.

According to Nurul, the Belait District was selected due to its proximity to the university’s campus and the existing close communal ties between the Miri and Belait communities. She said the visits brought positive results in terms of relationship-building, not only with the Belait community but also among the project team members.

“A little bit of kindness can go a long way,” commented Nurul on the team’s visit to Pusat Bahagia Eric Goh, a centre for youngsters with special needs.

“I learned that it is important to be kind and thoughtful towards everyone, regardless of their abilities.”

The centre empowers its charges by providing therapy and vocational training, enabling them to be independent and facilitating their integration as productive members of the community.

For Indonesian volunteer Mutiara Ariva, the visit to the Seria Old Folks’ Home was an especially heart-warming experience.

“The project helped cultivate a strong sense of volunteerism in us, such that I now look forward to participating in more volunteer programmes and changing people’s lives for the better,” said Mutiara.

Engaging with children of Menderam Besar Longhouse.

Engaging with children of Menderam Besar Longhouse.

At Menderam Besar Longhouse, where the team spent the night, the volunteers were entertained to a Ngajat dance performance and given a demonstration of basket-weaving by the villagers, as well helped prepare some local delicacies for a communal lunch.

“It was wonderful to see the effort the young people from Curtin put in to engaging with our community. I am sure it has left a lasting impression on everyone, especially the less fortunate among us,” said the head of the longhouse, Awang Berandi anak Jaman.

HACS President Dexter Stanley Guang, meanwhile, said the project exposed the volunteers to aspects of Brunei’s communities most might not be aware of.

“It was great to see the volunteers from Malaysia, Indonesia and Myanmar bonding with the people we visited,” he remarked.

The Humanitarian Affairs Curtin Sarawak Student Chapter is part of Humanitarian Affairs, United Kingdom, a London-based social enterprise that initiates and supports humanitarian relief efforts and community development programmes in countries around the world.

Through its activities, HACS provides its student members with opportunities to engage in humanitarian service, strengthen their awareness of diverse cultures, and develop a lifelong commitment to helping others. For more information on HACS, email [email protected]

Curtin Sarawak, the largest international campus of Curtin University, provides opportunities for its students to initiate and participate in volunteer projects both locally and internationally in line with the university’s mission to be a beacon for positive change, embracing the challenges and opportunities of our times to advance understanding and change lives for the better.

The university believes in providing richly interactive and personalised learning experiences for its students, equipping them with leadership skills for the future and valuing them as partners in education and research – and as long-term influencers of change within society.

科廷大学(澳洲大学马来西亚分校) Curtin University Sarawak Malaysia

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