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Project hope - history

Serving as a medical officer aboard a destroyer during World War II, Dr. William B. Walsh, M.D. was moved by the poor health conditions he saw in the South Pacific - particularly by the affliction and death of young children who could have been easily savedwith the application of simple medical know-how. He envisioned a floating medical center that would bring health education and improved care to communities around the world.

In 1958, Dr. Walsh persuaded President Eisenhower to donate a U.S. Navy hospital ship, the U.S.S. Consolation. With $150, a dream, and the support of corporations and individuals, the ship was transformed into the S.S. HOPE, and the organization known as Project HOPE was born.

Over the next two years, the S.S. HOPE was refitted and equipped for its new role as a peace-time hospital ship. The call was put out for American doctors, nurses, and technologists to share their skills and knowledge with the people of developing nations - teaching while healing. For every American on board, there would be a counterpart to be trained.

Finally, on September 22, 1960, the S.S. HOPE set sail from San Francisco bound for Indonesia. While the S.S. 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 S.S. HOPE completed 11 voyages traveling to Indonesia, Vietnam, Peru, Ecuador, Guinea, Nicaragua, Colombia, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Tunisia, Jamaica, and Brazil.
Click on the Listen Tab to watch a video of the history of  Project HOPE.
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