It can be hard to picture the world of difference an airstrip makes for someone who lives in a place really difficult to reach by land. We’ve seen it time and time again… and it’s incredible!
When an airstrip is built, healthcare, education, community development and the Gospel can come to a community. In times of crisis, MAF planes can deliver food, emergency supplies and an ambulance service.
Even better, an airstrip can bring lasting transformation to generations of isolated people. It's a gift that lasts a lifetime.
Today, exciting opportunities are arising to develop airstrips worldwide and open up impoverished communities to help, hope and healing, but we can’t do it alone. Will you help?
Every lifeline begins with an airstrip
Airstrips come in all shapes and sizes: long, short, grass, mud, gravel, steep, banana-shape, cut into a mountain, surrounded by swamp or jungle! MAF flies to around 1,500 different ones each year, and airstrip development plays a vital part in establishing a lifeline to thousands more isolated people
When churches, missions and NGOs hear that MAF is building an airstrip, they get very excited knowing they will soon be able to reach isolated people there. The village community love to get involved and local workers are employed wherever possible. After all, their new lifeline belongs to them.
Adjumani: a lifeline to South Sudanese refugees
In the last year, 100,000 South Sudanese refugees have sought sactuary in Uganda. MAF was approached by the UNHCR in the hope that an old overgrown airstrip at Adjumani could be reclaimed, as the logistics of running vast camps are a full day's rough road trip from the capital, Kampala, was challenging. It was ultimately rebuilt as if it had never existed and today, the new airstrip at Adjumani is a doorway to the vast camps that have developed there. and is enabling our planes to help thousands of people who've come to Adjumani to escape death. Read more
In a country with less than 1.3 million inhabitants, the opening of its eighth airstrip unsurprisingly drew an ecstatic crowd. Local dignitaries enjoyed a short flight around the Viqueque airstrip, and the presence of the Vice Minister of Health was the ultimate sign that this lifeline is vital for the country's future.
Within a few weeks, an MAF aircraft flew an emergency medical evacuation from Viqueque. It marked the end of the team's busiest ever year – one in which they flew the 1,000th medical evacuation in just 7 years from Timor-Leste's few remote airstrips. Read more
The hospital in Tapeta is one of the best equipped in Liberia, but the roads into town are extremely poor and often inaccessibly flooded. MAF and its partner Samaritan's Purse rehabilitated the Tapeta airstrip and now thousands of patients can receive urgent medical treatment. The opening ceremony was concluded by a missionary serving with Baptist Mid-Missions which owns the land on which the airstrip is located. Thanks to yet another fruitful MAF partnership, many prayers are being answered in one of the world's poorest countries.
Lapalama: 4 days vs 5 minutes
Can you imagine living 4 days away from a hospital? The villagers of Lapalama in the mountains of Papua New Guinea didn't have to. With no roads, in order to reach the hospital, people would be carried down the mountain, through dense jungle and up another mountain ridge. Now the airstrip is there, the trip to the hospital takes just 5 minutes... what a transformation!
A unique opportunity to open up Myanmar
Lailenpi has only recently gained access to roads. Well, kind of. Deep in the mountains of Myanmar's Chin District, the trip by roads carved into mountains is long and brutal at the best of times and during the phenomenal 5-month monsoon season, when frequent landslides occur, it is impassable. Few dare drive to the village.
It is one of many villages suffering from endemic poverty desperately wanting and needing an airstrip so that the journey of life-transforming help can begin.
When TV first arrived - in this Millennium - so did the understanding of the big world outside the village. Yet severe poverty, dangerous travel and limited opportunities and long hard treks to even reach the nearest town will remain as long as they remain isolated.
Mimi Zawtha grew up in the isolated mountain village. 'My life was very, very hard,' she recalls. When she wasn't at school or studying, she was fetching water, feeding the animals, cooking for her siblings and helping work in the fields.
She was lucky enough to be able to get an education outside Myanmar (it was then she saw her first car!) and now wants opportunities to be available to her community.
‘If MAF brings their plane here, it would be so wonderful and amazing. Everything would change for us because of the plane. It would be a life-saver!’
Now, MAF has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring life-transforming help to Myanmar's remotest communities.
Please help us to be a lifeline to more isolated people.