Myanmar Vice President visits Lailenpi to approve the development of an airstrip being built by MAF in partnership with Health and Hope
Story and Photos by LuAnne Cadd.
On the 28th February Vice President of Myanmar, U Henry Van Thio, visited the remote community of Lailenpi and authorized development of an airstrip there by MAF, in partnership with Health and Hope.
Health and Hope was established by a resolute, prayerful community in Chin State, Myanmar. Dr SaSa, founder of the organisation, was born in the isolated village of Lailenpi. Dr SaSa overcame the many challenges before him to become a doctor and now works to transform life for the people of Lailenpi and Chin State. It was Dr SaSa who approached MAF about constructing an airstrip.
In January, Dr. Sasa attended a strategic meeting with the Vice President, Minister of Transport and others to discuss a Lailenpi airfield project and MAF’s involvement.
Chad Tilley, MAF Myanmar Country Director and pilot, explains, ‘What is very encouraging is that all of this was at the initiative of Health and Hope and their connections within the government, and they did this on our behalf. Yes, they are needing an airfield desperately (it is a 4-day, one way drive to reach Lailenpi), but they are promoting us as an organization to help them achieve their needs.’
The development project will be used by the government as a ‘test case’ for MAF. If successful it could lead to MAF starting a flight operation in Myanmar.
The Vice President was joined by leaders from Chin state, the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation for the occasion, with two large military helicopters transporting them to the location. MAF was asked to attend, represented by Chad Tilley and Office Administrator Deeram Khong.
‘We had an amazing day!’ says Chad.
It was a highly significant occasion for the community, as no one from the presidency had ever visited before. The government committed over $1 million in support of the town infrastructure. This will include building of a hospital, community centre, roads and a generator.
MAF and Health and Hope are to start construction of the airstrip as soon as possible. Discussion will then follow concerning the operation, regulations and conduct of the airfield.