Since 2015, the IHC Merwede Foundation has been supporting the charitable organisation, Mercy Ships. This summer, we sent another five volunteers on board the floating hospital, AFRICA MERCY, to assist with its annual maintenance.
Founded in 1978, Mercy Ships is an international medical relief organisation that provides free medical care in developing countries on board the largest non-governmental hospital ship in the world.
The crew of the AFRICA MERCY consists of more than 400 volunteers, from over 40 countries worldwide. Every volunteer is committed to working together to bring free medical care to some of the world’s poorest people in Africa and facilitating the training of local medical staff.
During the vessel’s annual two-month maintenance period, it returns to dock from its field work in places such as Madagascar and Cameroon. At this time, IHC Merwede Foundation supports the travel and accommodation expenses of IHC employees who want to volunteer their time to assist with the upkeep of the vessel.
Over the past two years, we have sent IHC employees to Durban in South Africa and Las Palmas in Gran Canaria. During their two-week stay, they have undertaken various repairs including general paint jobs through to the restoration of watertight doors, air shafts and the ‘catwalk’ around the pilot cabin.
For volunteer Stefan Alanovic this was his second time on board the AFRICA MERCY: “The people on Mercy Ships are so dedicated to their cause and welcoming of all the support they get. To me, being able to contribute to such a noble cause feels great.”
Joining Stefan in Gran Canaria was Beatriz de la Obra: “If I have to highlight one thing, it would be the team spirit that surrounds the AFRICA MERCY. There is a really positive atmosphere and people on board treat each other like a little family. It was a wonderful experience, which I would recommend to others.”
For more information on Mercy Ships, visit www.mercyships.org