MAF and its partners in Myanmar are in the process of building an airstrip in the remote community of Lailenpi in Myanmar. Progress is being made, even with delays due to COVID-19.
Last year, you might have read about the groundbreaking ceremony for the Lailenpi Airstrip in Myanmar. MAF, along with Health and Hope and other partners, has been been busy building an airstrip in Lailenpi, a remote community in the Chin State of Myanmar. This airstrip-building project has been so exciting for us and the local community as it will be the first of its kind in the region, helping connect an area that is usually cut off from the big cities during the monsoon season, and significantly reducing travel time throughout the year.
MAF was introduced to the needs in Lailenpi by the founder of Health and Hope, Dr. Sasa. Dr. Sasa grew up in Lailenpi, a remote community with very little access to basic health care and only primary education. Determined to pursue his education and come back and make a difference in the area, Dr. Sasa persevered through many challenges, eventually becoming a doctor. After completing his studies, Dr. Sasa felt he needed to address the lack of basic health care and nutrition in the Chin state area, and so started an organisation that began training health workers and providing food aid in the region - Health and Hope. Being in a very remote location, bringing food and medical aid to the region has been challenging, and realising the need for better access, Dr. Sasa approached MAF about the possibility of building an airstrip in the region.
After gaining permission to build an airstrip that would help bring hope and transformation to Lailenpi and the communities around it in 2017, MAF and its partners have made tremendous progress on the project. Excavation is 92% complete and the overall construction is 75% complete. However, with COVID-19, and subsequent closed borders, progress has slowed without dynamite to clear large stones, and other issues. However, work continues, and last month, in June, plants and trees were planted along the airstrip to control soil erosion.
The biggest project undertaken during this time of COVID-19, has been the installation of a weather system in Lailenpi. Aviation, all over the world, is heavily reliant on accurate weather information. So earlier this year, MAF purchased two weather systems designed for use in remote locations. Despite transport restrictions, MAF was granted special permission to transport one of the systems in March. The construction manager for the airstrip project installed the weather system and it was made operational in May. The other weather system was presented in a special ceremony last month to the Department of Civil Aviation. The system will be used at a newly built airstrip in the northern part of Chin State, which will act as a sub-base for MAF as it reaches remote communities in the area.
We are so excited about the project and so thankful for our amazing supporters that have given so generously to this pioneering project that is sure to benefit thousands of people living in the remote communities around Lailenpi and the Chin State.