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Teaching aboard Mercy Ships is the education adventure of a lifetime

Here’s your chance to be part of something amazing. Volunteer your teaching experience and make the world of difference!

You could teach the crew children on board one of our surgery ships Africa Mercy or Global Mercy. The Mercy Ships Academy is an accredited international Christian school that serves preschool, primary and high students on each ship, with small class sizes and big life experiences. We’re looking for all types of teachers to make it possible for our international crew families to serve Africa’s most vulnerable.

We’ve got a challenge for you – but say yes and your courage and compassion will change lives and bring essential surgery to sub-Saharan Africa. We need preschool, primary, and secondary educators to volunteer for two years teaching the crew children, as their parents serve our crew and patients.  

Can you come with us?

This could be the teaching reset that you have been praying for!

Academy Students

The Mercy Ships Academy on our hospital ships is an inspiring education adventure for children and teachers alike. Volunteering on board may be your next adventure.

If you have the heart to help the vulnerable, then volunteering on board the world’s largest civilian hospital ships may be the next fabulous career move you make. Come and help ensure our students are getting the best and most unique education available.

Teacher role details

The Academy has a campus on each hospital ship – Africa Mercy and Global Mercy. The vessels spend 10 months each year in field service in sub-Saharan Africa.

Minimum volunteer period: Two-year commitments begin for new teachers with a one-month orientation programme. 

Requirements: Currently registered with two years of experience, and values aligned with teaching a Christian education curriculum. 

Teaching opportunities on board

Preschool Teacher

Preferred Minimum Commitment: 2 years

Primary School Teacher

Preferred Minimum Commitment: 2 Years

Secondary School Teacher

Preferred Minimum Commitment: 2 years


Preferred Minimum Commitment: 2 years

Holiday Programme (Leader or Assistant)

Preferred Minimum Commitment: 2 years

All Academy Roles

Preferred Minimum Commitment: 2 years


Mercy Ships Academy, as the on board school are named, is a fully accredited International Christian School.  that brings glory to God by fully equipping each student with the foundation of knowledge and skills necessary to fulfill God’s purposes in their lives. We do this by partnering with parents in developing Christian character in their children through teaching values based on a genuine biblical worldview within the structure of quality academic education, meeting the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of each student. The Mercy Ships Academy uses an international standards-based curriculum and follows the educational standards of the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and Middle States Association.

The Mercy Ships Academy was founded in 1979 to provide a Christian education for the children of crew members. Instruction from a Christian point of view is offered for children of Pre-school (“nursery”) age through to completion of High School.

There are many positive role models for children to interact with. Living on a Mercy Ship gives children the opportunity to experience many new cultures and nationalities. 

The Academy operates on a Northern Hemisphere academic schedule (August to June)

The school day starts at 8:00 AM and finishes at 3:20 PM. There is an hour lunch break, where all students and families can have lunch together.

Preschool hours are from 8 AM-12:00 PM or 9:00 AM-12:00 PM, depending on the age and preschool year.

Typically there is a mid-school break for approximately two weeks from before Christmas through to the first week of January, and there is a break for about two months (usually June & July). The school calendar changes based on the ships maintenance schedules.

Families play an integral part in both our ship communities. 

Africa Mercy has over 60 beds for children, with children between the ages of 1 and 18 living on board with their families.

Global Mercy has a larger capacity for children, and  we will have over 110 beds available for children when the vessel is fully staffed!

  • Nursery (Preschool)
  • Kindergarten (New Entrants)
  • Grades 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Grades 5, 6, 7 
  • Grades 8, 9 , Junior High (Intermediate)
  • Grade 10, 11, 12 (High School)
  • All volunteers must be over 18 to join, must be in good health with a BMI <35, and be aware of both the physical demands of living on board and in Africa, as well as any physical demands of the role for which they want to join. For example, our volunteers may be required to sleep in a bunk-bed, sharing a cabin with other volunteers of the same gender.
  • The ship has multiple decks, and crew members could climb about 30 flights of stairs per day.
  • A married person can serve up to three months without their spouse. 


Mercy Ships is an international humanitarian organisation based on Christian values. Our mission is to improve access to health care in low-income nations. 

By deploying the world’s two largest non-governmental hospital ships, the Africa Mercy and the Global Mercy, Mercy Ships works with host countries to help them improve their health care systems.

Each year, more than 1,200 volunteers from over 60 nations donate their time and resources to support the Mercy Ships vision.

Mercy Ships’ surgical specialties include maxillofacialplastic reconstructiveorthopaedic, ophthalmic, general, and gynecological (obstetric fistula) surgery.

Simultaneously, we provide training and mentoring to upskill local health professionals, strengthening the host nation’s health care capacity. 

I love talking to people about finding their fit on board, and I’m here to answer your questions about volunteering.