MAF is an international Christian organisation whose mission is to fly light aircraft and use other technology to bring help and hope to people in some of the world’s poorest and most isolated communities.
The organisation began as the idea of a small group of Allied pilots at the end of World War 2. They wanted to use their flying skills after the war, not for conflict, but for helping people in need and spreading the Gospel.
Today MAF has 135 light aircraft operating in 30 countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. Every 3 minutes a MAF plane takes off or lands to assist local missions, churches, aid agencies and other non-governmental organisations to transform lives and share the love of God .These flights into some of the most remote and dangerous parts of the world require great skill, and the bravery of those who fly the planes is remarkable. The condition of the airfield that the pilot takes off from, and lands at, is invariably very poor.
Cessnas are the favoured aircraft, different models being used for particular conditions. The Cessna 206 is the most commonly used aircraft of the fleet carrying 5 people or 400 kg of freight. It is durable and reliable and its ability to land on rugged airstrips in Africa has made it very useful in Chad, the DRC and Madagascar in recent years where emergency medical supplies and food have been needed. The Cessna Amphibious Caravan carrying up to 9 passengers or 700 kg of supplies is ideal for operations in parts of the world where there is seasonal flooding. In Bangladesh for example, this aircraft takes surgical teams to floating hospitals which are towed to different locations every few months.
MAF is a fellowship in the sense that it works with aid agencies and Christian missions like Tearfund, Caritas, World Vision, Christian Blind Mission, Medair and others. It enables these organisations to get personnel, medicines, food, pure water equipment and Bibles to places that would otherwise be inaccessible, bringing Christian hope to some of the world’s poorest people. The charity is always very careful to work with the permission of governments. In the case of South Sudan it has had to airlift aid workers from civil war zones to safety in an emergency as well as enabling fresh water supplies to be set up quickly in refugee camps.
MAF has quite a low profile and you may not even know that its UK headquarters are in Folkestone. You can find more about its work at www.maf-uk.org