Think of Brunei and you imagine golden mosques and streets paved in gold…
To Dayangku Kemariah, one at the presenters of the business presentation of the AJWELP, there is definitely more to Brunei than just that. “We have lush forests, for those who like to trek, and water villages too, where tourists from all over the world can experience a different side of Brunei, that is steeped in tradition and culture.”
Kunyit 7 Lodge is situated in the renowned Kampong Ayer in Brunei Darussalam, owned and managed hands on by Dk Kemariah herself. “Before the thirty-year-old house was converted into a homestay, it was our home – where the family lived, where our children were born and grew up in. Where kids in the neighborhood swam to their hearts’ content. And it is all within the perimeter of the water village at the Brunei Bay, where the fishing village is located.”
Her entrepreneurial spirit was spurred by her years of related marketing experience in the hospitality, and airline industry and gave her the novel idea of offering a homestay to travelers, tourists who like to explore a different kind of Brunei. “I love to sail, trek and this is what I offer extra to my guests. When guests book for a short stay at my place, I offer either nature attractions like a trip to the rain forest, boatride, walking in the surrounding area of the Water Village as the sun begins to set or under the starry night skies which is a romantic exercise.”
“The homestay concept will bring life to the community center, provide livelihood to the local boatmen, and also showcase Brunei hospitality to the whole world, so I said why not?” she said. The homegrown homestay concept of Dk Kemariah underwent renovation from December 2014 to February 2015 and then it officially opened, with an irresistible added value.
Her participation after being successfully selected by the AJWELP has given her immense opportunity to share to the rest of the Asean neighbors, women like herself, the other side of Brunei and how local tourism can even be further promoted across the seas. “The AJWELP is a wonderful platform where there is community sharing, where women entrepreneurs from the Asean countries can share best practices, connect, either to partner with or find mentors to help us grow our business even more.” “In particular, the business presentation was very heartwarming as the women shared their passion in their business and the community.” She views the AJWELP as a philanthropist that encourages women to go beyond business matters and actually imbibe in their core values corporate social responsibility. “Each one of us women attending the AJWELP is unique but even in our uniqueness we share a common ground. We are strong, focused, motivated because we know that we now have a voice who will listen and understand our needs.”
“We can learn a lot from each other, as cultures play a big role in women gender development. I truly look forward to the opportunity too, of the continuity of this program and future exchange of ideas and cultures in Japan.”