Over the last 60 years, Project HOPE has sent medical volunteers by sea, by land and by air to wherever patients need help the most or where health care systems are breaking down or simply do not exist.
The organization has responded to hurricanes and tsunamis, earthquakes and the humanitarian consequences of civil war, an Ebola outbreak in Africa and rebuilt creaking health care infrastructure in the Soviet bloc during the Cold War and after the Iron Curtain fell. It has established pioneering pediatric cancer care in Shanghai, and built a state-of-the-art children’s hospital in Iraq.
From the Philippines to the Dominican Republic and from Mozambique to China, Project HOPE doctors and nurses have treated countless patients, and trained health care workers who have staffed local health systems for generations.
It all started when Dr. William B. Walsh, M.D., was serving on a Navy destroyer during World War II and was moved by the poor health conditions he saw in the South Pacific.
In 1958, Dr. Walsh persuaded U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower to donate a U.S. Navy hospital ship, the USS Consolation. With $150, a dream and the support of corporations and individuals, the ship was transformed into the SS HOPE, and the organization known as Project HOPE was born.
On September 22, 1960, the SS HOPE set sail from San Francisco bound for Indonesia. While the SS HOPE was retired in 1974, the spirit of its voyages lives on in HOPE's land-based programs and through the testimony of the HOPE Alumni. The SS HOPE completed 11 voyages traveling to Indonesia, Vietnam, Peru, Ecuador, Guinea, Nicaragua, Colombia, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Tunisia, Jamaica and Brazil.
Today, the spirit of the SS HOPE lives on through our global and local staff, technical experts and medical volunteers working in over 25 countries providing education to local health care workers and quality health care to people in need.
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