Brunei Volunteers Benefit Society
|Haji Mohd Rozan presenting a certificate to one of the training participants. (Source: Borneo Bulletin)|
Overcome with emotion, participants shed many a tear after opening their blindfolds to see their parents welcoming them after undergoing the four-day training programme.
This year's group of 50 youths, named themselves the 'Titanium 50' to represent the dense and hard metal. Utilising a combination of local and foreign practical training methods, the LESTARI programme used music, storytelling, audio and visual, games and interaction to teach life skills to participants and raise awareness of AIDS in Brunei.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, Hj Mohd Rozan Dato Paduka Hj Yunos, present as guest of honour at the closing ceremony, said, "Alhamdulillah... What you have taken part in and the knowledge you have gained on this course will bring you closer to achieving His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam's vision of a syumul (comprehensive) youth".
The Permanent Secretary highlighted that as said by His Majesty, to truly achieve the ideal of comprehensiveness, one needs to fill themselves with knowledge.
"LESTARI covers a multitude of skills including cognitive, personal and interpersonal, which are forms of knowledge that are absolutely necessary in this day and age."
Hj Mohd Rozan also praised the training for instilling a culture of volunteerism and urged youths to expand their horizons beyond social and community services to humanitarian and more youth-centric issues.
One of the participants, Dyg Mantazah Hj Hamzah described the training as "an emotional journey. One moment you're crying, the next you're laughing".
"If there's anything that I've learnt from LESTARI it's to never give up. I have learnt to believe in myself and believe in others; that I need to back others up to get their backing."
Zul Hamzi Faiz Hj Zali said that he will keep the bonds made during the programme for life. "I see 50 different personalities, all of who are steadfast in character. LESTARI has taught me to be brave and to be creative."
The AIDS Council of Brunei Darussalam have received recognition for their efforts, being awarded the Commonwealth Youth Silver award in 2005 and 2007, as well as the ASEAN Ten Accomplished Youth Organisation (TAYO) Award last year.
-- Courtesy of The Brunei Times --