La Vida Berhad: Bringing the community together

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La Vida Berhad: Bringing the community together

Ever since starting on the parenting journey and being a stay at home mum, budgeting and staying thrifty is no longer a choice. And with the massive choices of children products and services available, it makes it even more necessary to scrutinize my spending. So when I came to know there was a new second hand shop in town, I was thrilled to check if I can find anything useful for my toddler, without costing an arm and a leg.
The shop is located in Jalan Berakas, among the residential houses. They converted a bungalow into a second hand shop and there is ample parking. As soon as you go in, the rooms are filled with plenty of items ranging from children’s toys, clothing, shoes, books, handicrafts, kitchenware and more. These items are donated to the center and surprisingly most of them are still in fairly good condition. Few weeks ago, I bought a new inflatable seat float at Toy R Us for $25, while you can find one here at a cheaper price. And all profits go to fund their community projects and programs.

Aside from their second hand shop, Lavida is a non profit organization developed to help needy and atypically developing children. They started their Family Resource Centre on a smaller scale in 2007, at one of the shophouses in Kiarong. And with great determination and perseverance to make a change in the quality of lives of others, they have now expanded to a larger premises (right beside the second hand shop) and offer a broader range of programs to support the different needs of the community. From Family care workshops and seminars, playgroup sessions (Aged 2-8 years old), special needs training & seminars, fund-raising projects to volunteerism.
Looking at their large notice board in the shop filled with news articles from previous events, the manager of Lavida passionately shared their achievements and the impact they intent to make on society. She genuinely believes that important values such as compassion, respect and sensitivity can be developed with human diversity. And how these values can be instilled through their inclusive programs by having typically developing children observing the struggles of atypically developing children and the tenacity and triumph of their will to succeed in their goals. She explained in great depth on the centre’s core mission to remove ‘labels’ and to empower each individual to maximize their fullest potential. It sure is a demanding task and they work hard to recruit volunteers to assist in their programs.
There were running trial sessions for their playgroup program, which I thought was very generous, given the amount of energy and materials prepared. There were a team of trained volunteers assisting the session with almost one to one support , led by a special need specialist. Lavida works closely with the local social workers and made logistical arrangements for the underprivileged children who lived in remote areas of the country to participate in the program. It was held in their family resource center and the theme for this session was Transportation. So here’s the run through of their session:
  • The kids were brought to the ball pit room for a warm up session and also to break the ice with other kids. After burning some energy in the ball pit room, the kids were escorted to a separate room for circle time.
  • After circle time, the teacher started the activity by using PowerPoint slides to show real life images of various transportation. Students were then given a Laminated Velcro Mix & Match activity to identify the different types of transport.
  • A role play session followed next, with prepared theme related props and materials, mimicking real life situation of road safety.
  • At the end, there was an arts and crafts activity to enforce the ideas learnt during the session through creative play.
They are in the process of building a recreational facility and intent to use it as a platform for families to bond. So during weekends, families can come together and play badminton or football for free, while using their facilities. They are hoping to do more regular programs with their new facilities and encourage people from all walks of life to participate.

Contact details:
Address: No.6, Simpang 342, Jalan Berakas, Brunei Darussalam
Telephone:+673 2457452
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday- 10am-5.30pm, 1st Sunday of each month- 3pm-5pm

You can find out more on the La Vida Berhad Facebook page or Instagram account
Kristie is the mother of a two-year-old and is a strong believer in early childhood development. She is always on the lookout for purposeful, quality child related activities and shares her experiences on Baby Brunei.

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