Someone whose aim in life is to spread a religious message and convert others may be called a missionary. Emma Neve certainly has a ‘mission’; however it’s not about spreading religion; it’s about addressing the basic needs of others in the fields of health and education. ‘Zeal’ refers to enthusiasm or great energy; that’s something Emma has in spades and it’s infectious. Another description of Emma’s approach to life could be to use the Latin expression ‘acta non verba’; or loosely translated, ‘deeds not words’. She sees a need, develops a plan, manages the obstacles and then it happens. The two obvious examples can be seen in Hua Hin. First founding the British Educational Children’s Centre (BECC) School and second founding Jungle Aid.
Emma remains as the driving force and leader of both organisations. She is the mother of two pre-teen daughters and a blue-eyed, English blonde; but that doesn’t paint a real picture. She can trace the foundations of her ‘mission’ to witnessing the difference being made to the life of an elderly lady by a nurse who was the friend of her mother in Cornwall. As an 11-year old, she then knew that nursing would be her chosen profession. Another formative time was as an 18 year old volunteer in Romania spending time amongst the disabled and disadvantaged.
Emma took the nursing career path and progressed into health administration and education. Travelling to Thailand and Hua Hin was about joining other family Members already here and it’s been home since 2008. Her motivation to start a drop in day care centre centred on the needs of her daughters. Through talking to the people using the service and the needs of families, a small home school was quickly formed to accommodate 3 students. Fast forward and the BACC school has 110 students (including her daughters), with brother Olly adding his educational administrative skills. Along the way, Emma’s philanthropic instincts and nursing background kicked in and she became a volunteer with an organisation with a Christian missionary approach helping Karen villagers. In September 2013, Jungle Aid was founded.
In this edition of Hua Hin Today, we have described our experiences joining the JA Team to tell more about this organisation’s approach. Jungle Aid is a voluntary organisation, including Emma’s position heading the Management Board. But volunteers aren’t always visible. There are many tasks undertaken which couldn’t be described as glamorous but vital to the realm of improving the health and education of remote villagers.
Volunteers are always welcome including those with a limited background health or education, just those who want to make a difference. This includes the more mundane tasks of sorting donated goods or perhaps being involved in fund-raising ventures or administration. Emma is a lateral thinker who sees the potential in anyone who is motivated by a desire to make a difference. Seeking self- gratification doesn’t rate as motivation in her books!
Interested in volunteering? – www.facebook.com/JungleAid So what does a fulltime Mum, school administrator and charity foundation principal spend her ‘spare time’. Something like reading a good book or relaxing in a hammock sounds good; but oh no! Urged on by her brother, Emma is looking forward to being a competitor in the next available Triathlon; not really as one of those fierce competitors but as a focus and motivation for exercise and fitness. On the afternoon of our interview Emma was heading for a bike road on the beach with one of those fat-tyred bicycles, just for something different. Phew!, I feel worn out just writing this story. Footnote: Here’s a story I mentioned to Emma; I shouldn’t have been surprised when she provided the punch-line………,. it really summarises her philosophy!