the search for a solution

In sub-Saharan Africa, where there is approximately 1 doctor per 5,000 people, physical deformities can quickly become dangerous, even life-threatening. Moreover, these conditions cause deep physical and emotional pain.

For Ulrich, who was born with a muscular deformity known as “quadriceps contracture,” no surgical options meant a lifetime of ridicule and suffering. The young boy was gawked at, teased, and treated like an outcast.

Ulrich’s family sought far and wide for a solution, to no avail. His future was bleak. Until a neighbor told them about a hospital ship that would soon be arriving in their area.

for his suffering, a vessel of hope

Why a ship? Simply put—hospital ships are 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.

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

a journey of hope and healing

The compassion of Mercy Ships donors steps onboard 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. Ulrich’s family was one of the many desperate for a miracle.

step 2: surgery

Each surgery, and every patient, has their own unique story. Ulrich’s procedure was one of the more extensive surgeries we’ve ever performed. Our entire crew not only offers their professional expertise, but also their personal, loving care to everyone we serve.

step 3: recovery

After surgery, patients like Ulrich need round-the-clock care in order to heal both physically and emotionally. Our dedicated crew ensures patients receive the proper post-surgery treatment, rest, and personal attention needed for a full recovery.

standing tall

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.

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

“Before people would just stare at me in the street and call me a handicap.
Now they will look again!”
— Ulrich