BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Families lined up as early as 6am at Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali’s gymnasium on Sunday, where new and preloved clothes were donated as part of a Hari Raya donation drive.

By the end of the day, more than 25,000 pieces of donated clothings — from baju kurung, baju melayu  to sinjang and shawls — went home with their new owners comprising members of the public who were in need and underprivileged families. 

The local community project organised by Generasi Berkarih, Dash Team, Hand4hand and Kristal FM was aimed at providing families in need with their upcoming Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration.

“We ended up starting the drive at 8.30am instead of 9am because of the [overwhelming] response,” co-founder of Generasi Berkarih, Mohamad Syukri Jamil told The Scoop. The final tally of visitors by closing time was 2,300 and there were more than 90 volunteers on duty to ensure that the donation drive went smoothly.

A father tries on a Baju Cara Melaju as his son looks on at the one-day Raya Donation Drive at UNISSA on May 26, 2019. Photo: Rasidah Hj Abu Bakar/The Scoop

Upon registration, visitors were given a coupon where they can pick a maximum of 11 items each. Female visitors were allowed to pick up to five baju kurung, five shawls and a brooch, while male visitors can chose up to five Baju Melayu, five sinjang and one songkok. Visitors were also required to bring their haul to one of the four check-out counters. 

“Initially, we just want to do this as a small project but when the collaborations come together, everything went viral and it went beyond our expectations. Thankfully, we have the support of UNISSA (Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali) who provided us with the venue,” Mohamad Syukri said.

The event organisers began collecting new and preloved clothes on May 18 and 19, where some 200 volunteers spent 10 days sorting out and hanging the clothes. They received extraordinary response from the public, filling up half of UNISSA’s gym prompting them to cut short the time for donation collection.

“We have also donated some of the items to other projects because we were overwhelmed with the amount of donations… some of the donations have been given to other projects such as Green Brunei Charity Drive so that the charity would continue.”

A mother of five, who wished to be known only as Mariam, said she was informed of the donation drive by a family whatsapp group and brought her kids along with her.

“Money has always been tight for the family, especially with the upcoming Hari Raya celebration, so this is a good opportunity for me to get some new clothes for them,” the Kg Masin resident said.