Mercy Ships utilises surgery ships as a platform to transform lives and serve nations in Africa.
We seek to follow the model of Jesus, bringing hope and healing to the forgotten poor.
For more than 40 years we have been providing free surgeries and humanitarian care for people without access to the health care services they need.
Why a ship?
On the African continent, 93% of the population does not have access to safe or affordable surgery when they need it. Globally, each year 18.6 million people die from the lack of surgical care. Mercy Ships is dedicated to strengthening countries’ health care capacity through training, as well as meeting individual immediate needs.
The Mercy Ships’ field of service is West Africa, Central Africa, Southern Africa and Madagascar, and extending service to East Africa in the years to come.
Our hospital ship strategy
Our ships bring a whole hospital of experienced volunteer professionals directly to where healthcare needs are greatest, and people are the poorest.
In the low-income countries Mercy Ships serves, clean water, electricity and surgical facilities are limited or non-existent. This significantly impacts the safe and robust provision of land-based surgery and medical care.
Transparency, accountability and what people say about us
A key strength of Mercy Ships is that people trust us. They trust us to help people just as we have said we would.
We are trusted because we are open, transparent and accountable. Find out about some of those who partner with us and read the annual reports of our work here.
Don & Deyon Stephens founded Mercy Ships in 1978 with the purchase of our first vessel Anastasis, which visited 14 New Zealand ports in 1983 while serving in the Pacific.
An overheard prayer, the birth of their special needs son, and a conversation with Mother Theresa were pivotal in hearing the call of God to follow the model of Jesus, bringing hope and healing to the world’s poor.
Our crew and staff
Mercy Ships has two hospital ships filled with volunteer crew members providing services. Our 16 national offices around the world recruit volunteers, fundraise to provide surgeries, and make our humanitarian work better known in our nations.
In New Zealand, Mercy Ships is registered as a charitable or non-profit organisation, able to give tax receipts for New Zealanders’ donations. The office staff, located in Penrose, Auckland, is dedicated to supporting the work of our hospital ships in Africa.
More than 1,300 volunteers a year onboard
Our amazing volunteers deliver the highest quality care to individuals who otherwise would have little access to medical services. And they pay their own way, so every dollar donated to Mercy Ships can go directly to helping the world’s forgotten poor.
Teniah and Travis Howell
Teniah and Travis Howell We are so pleased to be returning to serve a third time with Mercy Ships in Africa. For many years we have felt a strong connection with the core-values of Mercy Ships. The relationships developed onboard provide both physical as well as emotional healing and can truly transform lives. This resonates […]
Skye Cameron Hi there, I will be heading to join the Global Mercy Ship in January to work as a registered nurse on one of the wards. I will be caring for patients after they have had their much-needed surgery, helping them heal and get back to living their lives. I’m eager to help provide […]
Eva Gregory-Hunt When I was in high school, I saw a World vision type documentary, where a mother had had to make the most horrific decision. Feed one of her newborn twins what little she could and sacrifice the other or feed both and probably lose both. Even today I find this heartbreaking because I […]