Nathalie Oliveira wants to help the people of Senegal. That has been true since the first time she
visited as a volunteer medical worker in 2002. Her passion is simple: she wants to help.

Following her first inspiring trip, Nathalie got to work. She organized friends and colleagues to secure supplies for a dispensary in Saint-Louis on the northern coast. Together, they filled a 10-ton container with medical equipment and supplies.

For years, Nathalie returned to Senegal, as often as three times a year. Each time, she volunteered her medical skills, brought along colleagues, and shipped supplies and clothes for children. In 2006, she and two friends launched Radeau de l’Espoir – Raft of Hope — which collected used wheelchairs and prosthetic devices to aid handicapped people and to assist a dispensary in Ziguinchor, in the south.

Through all these efforts, Nathalie has witnessed people’s deep desire to help, which she converts to action by networking with physicians, charities and interested individuals and delivering badly needed support to the Senegalese people.

Concern plus contributions plus passion led to Nathalie’s vision of the Hospital of Hope.

Since launching in mid-2011, the Hospital of Hope’s mobile clinic and all-volunteer medical team has served more than 2700 patients in rural communities around the capital city Dakar. The clinic operates six to eight actions per year in rural towns, where nearly half of Senegal’s population of more than 13 million live. For rural Senegalese, healthcare is not readily available or affordable, and consequently, many suffer and die from routine infections, minor injuries, childbirth problems, chronic and untreated illnesses.

“In Senegal, there are no medical facilities offering affordable treatment outside the major cities. Often, the Hospital of Hope is the first medical care our patients have ever received. They range from recently born babies to elders in their 80s. We screen for diabetes and hypertension, which are pervasive and generally undiagnosed. We treat minor injuries, fever, intestinal and respiratory infections, and we always have a dentist on the medical team to exam, treat, and educate about dental care,” Nathalie notes.


The Hospital of Hope LOGO is symbolized by the baobab tree, a species that is indigenous to Africa and in itself symbolizes hope. The baobab can grow to a spectacular size, reaching heights of 30 meters (100 feet). The largest, reputedly thousands of years old, had a circumference of 47 meters (154 feet). Birds nest in the baobab’s towering foliage. Animals and humans also create homes – and even shops and restaurants – in the hollowed trunks. The baobab’s fruit pulp is called monkey bread and is rich in vitamin C. Fresh and dried, it is a staple of diets in all areas where the baobab grows. The leaves are also edible, and the seeds are a source of oil, spice and thickening agent. The baobab, like the Hospital of Hope, offers safety, shelter and nourishment.