The courage to reach out


Rokiah Mahmud

If everyone was afraid to do their part, who would help the nation fight the pandemic?

Mohd Abdul Hadif bin Haji Mohd Raduan, a third-year student at Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA), shared this sentiment when asked about his volunteer work as part of a high-risk response team at the height of the pandemic.

His responsibilities included swabs on potential cases for rapid antigen testing, assisting emergency services, delivering oximeters to COVID-19 patients and working on the hotline.

When he joined the Brunei Darussalam Red Crescent Society as a volunteer, the COVID-19 situation was “very critical,” he said, adding that sometimes daily infections reached thousands.

“But if everyone is afraid, who will face this battle?” he asked during an interview with the Bulletin. “So, with a strong heart and determination, and with the support of family and friends, I found courage.”

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About 20 of his colleagues from UNISSA had volunteered to take part in the COVID-19 “frontlines”.

TOP & BOTTOM: Mohd Abdul Hadif bin Haji Mohd Raduan; Nurul Jarirah binti Johari; Nazifa Nabila binti Dr. haji
Ismuhadi. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR

Nurul Jarirah binti Johari was one of them. “For eight months, I have been fulfilling my duty as a COVID-19 youth volunteer at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport (MCYS) and have been placed in an isolation center in the Belait district,” she told the Bulletin.

“At that time, most of my responsibilities were administrative, where I interacted with recovered and new COVID-19 patients.”

“There were times when people were scared or stayed away from us because they were afraid we might infect them. That didn’t make us weak. Instead, it made our hearts stronger. We were ready to help the nation when it really needed us.”

“We understood that their perception might be different than ours. We also knew that everyone was protective and scared at the same time.”

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In addition to volunteering, Nurul Jarirfah took on fundraisers such as B. a joint project with the Royal Brunei Land Forces (RBLF) and their own project “Stronger Together” coordinated by the Al-Qudwah team at UNISSA.

Speaking about what she learned during that time, she said: “It’s been amazing and I appreciate all the things that I’ve experienced. It shaped me to become a grateful and better person in life.”

“Having interacted directly with COVID-19 patients, we must acknowledge that our work has had significant exposure to the virus.

“Before we went home or went out in public, we had to make sure we were careful, maintained cleanliness and were fully sanitized so we didn’t endanger others.”

“Alhamdulillah, apart from the experience we have gained, we would also like to express our gratitude to the government for granting us the frontliner allowance.”

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UNISSA student Nazifa Nabila binti Dr. Haji Ismuhadi said she volunteered to be a frontliner during the second wave of COVID-19.

“At that time, I was assigned to the BRC call center in the Brunei Malay Teachers Association (PGGMB) building in the capital to manage and support the health advice hotline, including dealing with the BruHealth color code issue.

“I was later tasked with delivering oximeters to the homes of positive COVID-19 patients and distributing hygiene kits containing two art kits, Panadol, cough medicine and vitamin C.”

Speaking about dealing with such challenges, Nazifa added that this is a whole new experience for her and shared that it has made her more mature and grateful, especially in terms of time management and work experience.



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