hopes for a more normal life

Ulrich’s medical condition, known as “quadriceps contracture,” prevented his muscles from growing at the same rate as his bones, leaving his legs severely bent. With no medical or surgical options, Ulrich’s future included being gawked at, teased, and ridiculed, a fate no child deserves.

In the face of crushing poverty, how do you get a child like Ulrich to a state-of-the-art hospital? You bring the hospital to him.

children like Ulrich suffer daily in places where medical care is nearly nonexistent

1 in 11

children die before their fifth birthday


of children need surgery by age 15

1 physician
for every
5,000 people

In sub-Saharan Africa, the numbers are heartbreaking. Curable conditions quickly become life-threatening due to a lack of safe surgery.

stay connected to the Mercy Ships family to see all the ways we change lives

for those suffering, a vessel of hope

Why a ship? Simply put—a hospital ship is the best way to deliver safe surgeries to some of the poorest people in the world.

it starts with location

Because 50% of the world’s population lives near a coast, we can provide more surgeries for more people


we’re built on efficiency

In regions where resources are scarce, a state-of-the-art hospital ship is the most efficient way to deliver free surgeries

we create lasting change

Our programs include training and mentoring local professionals, providing medical tools and resources, building better facilities, and more.

YOU and Mercy Ships

Your compassion steps onboard to walk alongside each patient to remind them that they are not forgotten.

step 1: screening

Thousands line up. Many wait overnight, hoping and praying for the chance of life-changing surgery. Sadly, some must be turned away. Yellow patient cards serve as tickets for those approved to come onboard in the coming weeks for surgery.

step 2: surgery

Often, our volunteer surgeons can remove a life-threatening condition—like a facial tumor—in a matter of hours. Each surgery, and every patient, has their own story. Then, our entire crew offers their loving care to ensure patients receive the proper post-surgery treatment, rest and personal attention needed for a full recovery.

step 3: sustainability

Healing continues long after one of our ships departs. Mercy Ships aims to leave a host nation better equipped to care for their own by training and mentoring local professionals, providing in-country healthcare workers with medical tools and resources, helping to build better local medical facilities, and more…

standing tall

Ulrich’s surgery would not be easy. But after both legs were straightened, they were casted and the healing process began. The day his casts were removed, Ulrich stood up on his own, walked toward his Mercy Ships surgeon, and handed him the wooden walking sticks. He wouldn’t need them anymore. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place.

These are the real-life miracles your gifts create. Your generosity comes onboard, alongside dedicated surgeons and staff, to deliver hope and healing to those who need it most.

Provide free surgeries that change lives.