April 9, 2020
In just a few weeks, the outbreak of COVID-19 in Brunei has altered our life. The outbreak has driven us to make unprecedented changes, challenged our medical services, moved our children to virtual learning and resulted in the implementation of temporary monetary and fiscal measures, and restriction on travel and social activities. In the face of adversity across the country, the Brunei’s community spirit reverberates, truly pulling together to flatten the curve of COVID-19. Individuals, businesses, students and NGOs are combining forces to support our healthcare workers on the front lines and the others in need.
A helping hand for those on the frontlines
In the spirit of solidarity, Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (BSP), under the #BSPCares initiative, studied ways of easing the healthcare system, the frontline workers and the community. This is to supplement the generous initiatives that have been done by other organisations. Although #BSPCares is a company-led initiative, it also gives full empowerment for staff to contribute to a good cause.
Dr Ceri Powell, Managing Director of BSP described, “The response from staff to the relief efforts is truly heart-warming and defines our human spirit. This really shows the strength of our #BSPCares spirit, showcasing our focus on Fuelling Brunei’s Future whilst Caring today.”
One of the major efforts in BSP was the #100beds campaign for the newly built National Isolation Centre in Tutong. The campaign was open to all staff, family members and friends, and was also an opportunity for Muslim staff to participate as part of their wakaf (voluntary charitable endowment). Within 24 hours, staff have contributed to a sum worth 110 beds, exceeding its initial 100 beds target.
A collective effort from BSP and BSM also saw the contribution of BND50,000 worth of fuel vouchers for the use of Medical Emergency/Critical vehicles and services under the Ministry of Health.
In a crisis, there is also an opportunity for meaningful collaborations. Livewire Agrobiz and IBTE School of Hospitality & Tourism worked together to prepare hot meals daily for the healthcare frontliners using locally grown pesticide-free rice from the Agrobiz first harvest. This initiative is a small way of thanking the healthcare workers for their hard work and commitment in managing the outbreak. The Sembada188 rice was harvested recently and is a successful outcome of the Agrobiz Padi Agropreneur Scheme by IBTE and supported by LiveWIRE Brunei. Aside from contributing to the greater good, it is also an opportunity for the students to hone their culinary skills, to be more creative and improve their techniques.
Hjh Rosita Haji Hassan, Chairperson of LiveWIRE Brunei said, “LiveWIRE AgroBiz is so grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to frontline workers. 600Kg of rice from the AgroBiz first harvest at the IBTE AgroTech Campus in Wasan is used to prepare 300 hot meals daily. The food is prepared by the IBTE student chefs at the IBTE School of Hospitality & Tourism central kitchen in Jalan Muara.”
Even in the time of crisis, it is important to take some time out, to have a sanctuary where our frontline workers can gather their thoughts, pray and rest. It is critical to support them to work safely. BSP set up essential amenities such as wall panels, folding tables and chairs, shelves and biohazard bins for our healthcare frontline in Bandar Seri Begawan and in Tutong. Staff also contributed necessities to other hospital such as the Suri Seri Begawan hospital in Kuala Belait.
Whilst there are relief efforts for the health care frontlines, departments and staff networks within BSP such as the graduates network “Generate”, have reached out to vulnerable communities, visited their homes and delivered essential items such as food items, hygiene and care items to help them weather the crisis.
BSP’s staff volunteers have also connected with schools to provide a range of school supplies, aimed to facilitate the transition to online learning and teaching considering school closures due to COVID19.
Care whilst caring
As COVID-19 continues to impact communities across the country, BSP puts priority on the safety and health of our people and the nation, along with the safe operation of all our businesses. Like the heroic frontline teams in the Ministry of Health, BSP has its role to play - to continue powering the country’s hospitals, telecommunications, and homes. Now, more than ever, energy is needed to power our nation in these extraordinary times. This is the reason we continue to ensure the safe and reliable operation of assets while looking the safety of our people.
It is a challenging time for everyone; however, it is also about humanity rising to the occasion, standing in solidarity to keep the country safe from further spread of COVID-19. BSP thanks all the heroes from all sectors for continuously striving to flatten the COVID-19 curve in Brunei.