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How it all began…

A year after our first doctors went on holiday in Cameroon they returned. The hospital and the local population were very happy to see them again. The children even sang a song to welcome our first team: “Bienvenu les Médecins Sans Vacances, they come to make us better and don't have time for holidays.“

After two weeks of hard work one thing was crystal clear: the need for medical interventions in Africa is great. When our first doctors returned from their first humanitarian mission to the luxury of Europe, they could not forget their African colleagues. Just before they left the director of the centre asked them: "When are you coming back?" It was not a question whether they would come back but a request to follow up this first successful mission. Fortunately their enthusiasm for Africa was contagious, dozens of doctors and nurses were interested in this new form of development aid.

1981: A child is born.

ImageThe first team leaves for Africa and the organisation is given its name.The organisation is run entirely by volunteers and the doctors even pay for their own plane ticket.


1991: The teenage years.


On the tenth anniversary the non-profit organisation ‘Medics without Vacation’ is established. The teams are expanded and go on several missions.


1997: The adolescent gets his first pocket money.

© Griet Hendrickx

Under minister Reginald Moreels, MWV becomes a recognised NGO, the first subsidies are paid out. MWV shifts its focus to education: we teach our African colleagues to operate.


2005: A bigger room


The office in Bonheiden is too small for the 6 permanent staff and the 30 volunteers. The new office in Mechelen is occupied.




2006: Twenty-five but not fully grown.

© Griet Hendrickx

If we see how MWV has grown in 25 years, we see that we have organised many more mission these last years. There are 150 teams in the field, that means 345 people who will operate 4500 patients and treat 9000 patients.

We strongly believe in MWV's winning formula and hope that with more funds and specialists we will be able to help more patients, medical staff and hospitals in Africa. The need in Africa is great. Do you want to help?

Medics without Vacation grew from a small team of 2 doctors to a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) where about 1200 doctors and nurses work to achieve better medical care, further training and guidance of patients and medical staff in Africa.

Pay a scholarship for MWV and help us grow.