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Archive for May, 2016

Espwa’s employee to begin a new adventure

Espwa’s employee to begin a new adventure


Nathalie Amyotte has been the Finance Director at Espwa in Haiti for nearly seven years. This month she is heading back to Canada and she is taking her adopted Haitian son with her.

How did you hear about Espwa and get the job?

I worked for the government for many years and got a degree in human rights and sociology.  I wanted to do volunteer work.  Haiti kept popping up and I knew that if I didn’t come to Haiti, somehow something would be missing.  So I did what I always did.  I prayed, I said “God, I know it’s Haiti. I feel it.  But you’re going to have to give me some direction.”  I picked up my laptop to search and Father Marc’s blog was the first that came up.  I read and then called my mom and said “I know where I need to be.”  I applied and came as a volunteer for six weeks in September 2009.  From the first day, Espwa was in my heart.  I was helping in the finance office.  I went home with a heavy heart.  I was home for 12 hours and Father Marc called and said, “Come back.”  I didn’t hesitate.  I quit my job, packed my stuff and three weeks later I was there.
Best memory while at Espwa?
There are so many.  But one that sticks is when I met Hebreu and Hebreuson’s mother.  She was sitting in front of the church near my house with her kids and I saw the look of severe malnutrition in the baby’s eyes. I had spent so much time in the local center for undernourished children that I got to understand a lot more about that look.  When I asked if I could see her babies, she handed one of the twins to me.  He was so weak.  I opened his little shirt and immediately knew if we didn’t get the twins to a hospital, they would die. I asked the mom if she had gone to the hospital. Her husband had died and she had no money.  So she asked a vehicle driver if he would give her a free ride to a church.  She came that day to ask for a miracle.  So I called Father Marc.  I explained and said “I know things are tight and I know we’re full.”  And he said what he always says to me when I  tell him about children in need. An Espwa vehicle came to get us.  We rushed to the hospital. The boys were admitted right away.  The Mom had to stay with them.  Her girls came to stay at Espwa for the night.  When situations happen like that I call our Child Care staff, Enold and Berthony and Nancy, it can be day or night.  Everyone stops what they do and we rally.  Because Espwa means hope and this great bunch of people will do whatever it takes to save a child’s life.
Tell us about the process to adopt you son?
OH MY STARS!  The process is long and difficult to maneuver.  Our case was not ordinary because he was a case of serious neglect and although you see a lot of malnutrition here, neglect is a whole other story.  Social Services placed him with me as his foster mother. Espwa did not have the facilities to take in babies at that time. After 47 days in the hospital, Social Services placed him with me as his foster home.  We began the long process of gathering papers.  Then the adoption law changed.  Because I have temporary residency in Haiti, it was a national adoption.  Lawyers were not moving quickly so I decided I would go at it solo. Because it was a new law, there were new requirements and private adoptions are no longer permitted.  So this required special permissions because it started under the old system.  I am cutting out many details because as I said, I have six years worth of history on this.  There are visitors who we have seen regularly and each time, there were a few steps forward and a few steps back and I am eternally grateful for their moral support.  I stopped counting the number of trips I made to Port au Prince.  All adoption matters are centralized there. Eventually, I received permission to adopt, then went in front of the judge and he agreed! Then to the local registrar’s office and we received the final papers.  The very next day we were at the embassy and Daniel was given Canadian citizenship.  So this month we fly home to meet family so they can get to know Daniel in person.
What are your plans now? 
My parents and family need to see Daniel and spend time with him.  But the children here are in my heart.  Since I do data entry, verifications of accounts and financial reports for Espwa and Free the Kids, as well budget and payroll, I will continue to work from Canada. My work can be done remotely.
Thank you, Nathalie. Espwa will miss you! 

Free the Kids needs your help to fund Espwa’s important First Communion and Confirmation celebrations!

We are nearly half way to reaching our Independence Day Campaign Goal – $300,000 in 3 months!

Did you know your donation to Free the Kids goes much further than giving our children basic necessities? 

The children at Pwoje Espwa know what it is like to feel forgotten, abandoned or outcast.  It is vital to give these vulnerable children an opportunity to participate in the spiritual life of their community.  Religious events and church community are an integral part of Haitian life.  By receiving sacraments or attending worship services, these children develop a sense of family at Espwa and of belonging in their community.  They are enriched with spiritual guidance, moral formation and personal development.

Free the Kids needs your help to fund Espwa’s important First Communion and Confirmation celebrations! 

We are pleased  to announce that the sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation will be celebrated in late May for our children who have diligently prepared and studied. Father Marc Boisvert, Founder of Free the Kids will perform the First Communion ceremony for 29 of our wonderful children.  Another group of Espwa’s youth will be confirmed by Cardinal Chibly Langlois.

Each child receiving a sacrament will be given a new outfit to wear, making that day even more memorable.  Each child will receive a special gift, too, their very own rosary.

(Father Marc Boisvert is pictured with several of our Espwa kids

in the Sacrement de la Première Communion) 


Your donation to our Independence Day Campaign helps Free the Kids provide the basic daily necessities for 300+ children living at Pwoje Espwa’s 125-acre village near Les Cayes, Haiti.
Please consider going above and beyond with an extra donation for First Communion and Confirmation.  Today, you can help prepare these young Haitians for tomorrow with a strong spiritual foundation!
To support our First Communion and Confirmation  

Farm to Kitchen program at Espwa

Pwoje Espwa is always working on a farm to kitchen to table program.

The squash garden under the banana trees near the entrance at Pwoje Espwa in Les Cayes, Haiti has harvestePES Farmd this month. This is a great nutrient for the kids.

This food is low in saturated fat and sodium and very low in cholesterol. It is also a good source of Protein, Vitamin A, Thiamin, Niacin, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese.

Our focus is to plant based on the needs of the development of the kids. Therefore different crops will be continued to produce on our farm.

If you would like to help make a financial contribution to our agriculture program, please click here 


Espwa’s Soccer Star!

We are excited to announce that one of Espwa’s own, Michael Martine, was selected to play on Haiti’s junior national team! Michael, who is currently in Espwa’s transition program, first came to Espwa in June 2007. He always had a passion for soccer and his skills flourished while at Espwa. He currently plays for a club team in Les Cayes which is where his talent was recognized by the national team. Haiti’s national team has the best of the best of the country’s soccer players, which represents the country in international tournaments. Earning a spot on the junior team, Michael is one step closer to playing on the international stage. We are so proud of him and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors!




I fell in love with Espwa during my first visit last year. Hard to put into words, but there was a real "heart" connection with the kids and staff. It is a special place. My visit was focused primarily on the girls and the teachers. Relationships were initiated during that first visit that I treasure very much!

- Maria Simeone

There is hardly a more heartbreaking sight than seeing an orphan in Haiti--many of them who have families who simply cannot feed and clothe them. Of course there is the emotional response to their plight, but there is a more pragmatic hope--that given a chance in a loving, caring environment, these children can grow up to be leaders, people who can move their communities and the country itself in a positive, healthy direction.

- Jackie Wilson

This place is amazing! The kids and their caregivers will restore your faith in the human spirit. The magic of Espwa is that there is a childhood provided for the kids there that would not exist otherwise.Haiti has a very very long way to go, but this is a hopeful place with clean, well fed, happy children, teachers, house moms, and support staff. Fr Marc and all of the others should be very proud of their accomplishments. Help them in any way that you can!

- Kerri McDonough Croland
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