A five-year-old soccer fan whose legs started to bow from the age of two can run and play with friends without pain after his life was transformed by a surgical charity.  Malang from Senegal had been to multiple hospitals in his home country in search of medical help without success. 

Two Hours of Surgery, A Lifetime of Transformation

“You are strong,” 5-year-old Malang’s dad, Sadio, would gently murmur to him during days of rigorous rehabilitation aboard the Global Mercy™. These words of unwavering support became a daily ritual lifting Malang up as he healed from orthopedic surgery. 

A father’s love: Aissatou’s story

2022 was not the first time that Ousmane had sought medical help for his daughter Aissatou. Since his little girl was born with a cleft lip four years earlier, he had been in pursuit of her healing. The family had visited multiple hospitals in Senegal, but none could provide the help they needed. Others in his village started to lose hope, telling Ousmane that his daughter’s cleft lip was beyond repair.

The Boy with the Strong Spirit: Serigne’s Story

In a village in northwest Senegal, the name Serigne holds great significance. It resonates with leadership and authority. Many people and establishments proudly bear this distinguished name throughout the village, symbolizing a belief in their potential for greatness. This means that 6-year-old Serigne is in good company. His father, Abdou, says he deliberately chose the name because he foresaw a future of influence for his son.

Boy, six, can return to school with twin brother after his bowed legs are repaired

A six-year-old boy who developed severely bowed legs, when his twin brother did not, has been able to go to school after a surgical charity repaired them.  Serigne’s legs started to bow when he was a toddler, while his twin Fallou’s remained straight.  When he was two years old, his parents noticed he took longer to walk, and when he did, he struggled. 

Mercy Ships Celebrates Lasting Impact in 2023

Mercy Ships provided 3,295 surgeries for patients like Malang in 2023. Of those surgeries, 1,437 took place on board the Global Mercy™ during field services in two ports – Freetown and Dakar. The ship served patients from three countries – Senegal, The Gambia, and Sierra Leone. This work was only possible thanks to more than 1,318 skilled volunteers from over 67 countries, including 660+ Senegalese, Gambian, and Sierra Leonean national crewmembers.

Senegalese health minister praises Mercy Ships’ partnership ‘considerable contribution’ on international stage

Gratitude for Mercy Ships’ work was publicly shared at the joint Third Congress of the Senegalese Society of Pediatric Surgery and the Ninth Congress of the African Society of Pediatric Surgery in Dakar last week. Secretary General of the Ministry of Health and Social Action Professor Habib Ndiaye acknowledged the lack of pediatric surgeons in the country and thanked Mercy Ships for helping to tackle the very high demand for child orthopedic surgeries.

Mother’s relief as daughter given life-saving surgery by charity Mercy Ships

A mother who lived in fear her daughter’s fast-growing tumor would suffocate her is rejoicing after a surgical charity gave her daughter life-saving surgery.  Without a single maxillofacial surgeon in her home country of Sierra Leone, Yei had no one who could treat her daughter.  While she was pregnant, Yei had no ultrasound, and no reason to think her baby would be born anything but healthy. When she first saw the lump on her baby’s face and neck at birth, she felt devastated. 

Finding Light in the Darkness: Umu’s Story

Have you ever met someone whose eyes dance when they talk? That’s the very first thing everyone notices when they encounter 3-year-old Umu. Her aunt, Fatmata, has always been amazed by Umu's effortless ability to make friends, regardless of where she goes. “She’s a very brave girl,” Fatmata shared. “She's intelligent. She’s a fast learner.” But although this contagious joy is Umu’s trademark now, it wasn’t always this way. Her birth came with an unexpected twist as she entered the world with a benign tumor growing from the side of her face and neck. This was a shock to her mother, Yei, who’d had no reason to expect anything other than a healthy baby girl. Seeing her firstborn with the growth was utterly devastating.

Life-changing Healing for Samba

After 56 years with a cleft lip, it took just a two-hour surgery to change Samba’s life and unleash his God-given potential.   Samba, a widower with four children, worked as a cattle farmer in rural Senegal, where he faced discrimination due to his lifelong condition.  He had grown used to his cleft lip drawing unwanted attention. Physical attacks were so commonplace that Samba couldn’t guess how many times they had happened.