Towards a Brighter Future for Karen Villagers

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Towards a Brighter Future for Karen Villagers
Towards a Brighter Future for Karen Villagers

The Jungle Aid Foundation has been making a difference to communities on the Thai/Myanmar border for over eight years. This organisation is made up of passionate and determined volunteers. They’re problem-solvers, doctors, nurses and creative thinkers who provide aid to those in less fortunate circumstances for a brighter future. Emma Neve is the founder of Jungle Aid and is the Chair of the Board and Jungle Aid’s Chief Executive. Emma is a British nurse, a professional health visitor and the founder and Managing Director of an international school in Hua Hin.

Getting to and from remote villages poses a challenge to both villagers and Jungle Aid volunteers The village communities that are the focus of Jungle Aid’s work are largely made up of displaced people of mixed nationalities. Some are Thai citizens but many have an insecure residency status. Jungle Aid does not discriminate on any grounds; providing support irrespective of race, religion, ethnic background and residency status supporting these communities through regular visits.

Emma with some ‘hands on’ treatment and health promotion for villagers, including young mothers
Medical assistance may require these people to walk for one or two days. The elderly or mothers with children make such journeys when they hear that treatment will be available. Additional to emergency healthcare, educational opportunities for children and a regular food supply are also supported. As requests for assistance are received, Jungle Aid endeavours to meet them, albeit with limited resources. Assistance has included the training of a village nurse and health promotion activities about malaria, burn treatment, dental care and intestinal worms.

Common illnesses have required various antibiotic, fungal, skin treatment, open wound and anti-diarrhea medications. The open air ‘clinic’ also receives many requests for birth control pills. Village children are supported to attend school and provided with school supplies and sporting equipment. Jungle aid also supports local Thai families with severe sickness or poverty with medical assistance, food or equipment to improve their quality of life even though some may be living with a terminal illness.

A community needs assessment to enable the providing of essential supplies for village people. Jungle Aid has just announced a project that has taken over a year to develop and to receive the necessary backing of local authorities. The Foundation now has permission to build a well at the Pala U Noi village to provide water for over 200 people. Pala U Noi is just one of the villages supported by Jungle Aid. This community has around 40 houses with 200 people living on about 500 Rai of Thai Government National Forest in Prachuap Khiri Khan. Jungle Aid has been actively supporting Pala U Noi for over 8 years and treated over 450 patients at this location. Completion of this project will be life changing and provide the community with an essential requirement for a better future that we may take for granted; clean water. This will include a survey and well drilling, well construction, installation of solar powered pumps plus the survey and construction of a water pipe network. This is an ambitious plan with a total projected expenditure of almost 1.3 million THB.

Support for the venture is a great opportunity for sponsorship, now being actively canvassed. Fund Raising Jungle Aid is always dependent upon many unsung, generous and involved supporters and is without any other source of income. Some of the main fund-raising activities have involved the annual Centara World Masters Golf Championship, Det 5 (a fund-raising venue in Bangkok) and Stenden Rangsit University in Bangkok through the ‘Universities Fighting World Hunger’ movement. Jungle Aid has dedicated sponsors from all over the world who donate private funds when projects need support.

There has also been financial assistance or goods such as medical supplies and personal requisites from a wide range of Hua Hin supporters including hotels and resorts, sporting bodies, service clubs and private individuals. How to be involved Jungle Aid is made up entirely of dedicated volunteers. In addition to the core team there is an extended network of volunteers who help out with a whole range of activities. This includes joining jungle treks, helping fundraise, in the medical sphere, sorting donated goods or taking care of administrative requirements. Whatever skills you would like to share can be put to great use; particularly people who are able to volunteer on a long term basis. Committed volunteers have a huge impact and help so many people.

Even a single hour a week can make a big difference. Jungle Aid also has a volunteer webmaster ensuring their website provides all the information you may need and informing you about funding events and opportunities; your involvement is easy. Just visit www.jungleaid.org to learn more and to get involved!

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