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About Us

Free the Kids, a 501 (c) (3) non-denominational, non-sectarian foundation, is the United States based funding arm of Pwoje Espwa Sud, or Project Hope.  Its mission is to alleviate the devastating effects of poverty on the youth of southern Haiti by providing a home and refuge for orphaned and vulnerable children.  PES is currently home to around 450 children, aged 9 months to 20 years, with another 150 non-residents dependent for food and clothing.  In addition, the six PES schools educate approximately 1500 non-resident students whose parents are unable to afford alternatives.  The Haitian government does not have resources to provide any help for these children, and many would be living on their own were it not for Pwoje Espwa.

Free the Kids and Pwojè Espwa Sud are guided by some basic, yet demanding principles.  We do not give money blindly, as that practice can create a culture of dependency amongst those in need.  Rather, we attempt to instill a sense of pride in the daily accomplishments of our children and staff, promoting long-term progress.  Personal empowerment and holistic development are our mission.

We aim to measure our success by how our investments have changed a single child, a family, a group of children, or, in this case, an entire generation of children in both the short and long term. Several of our former residents have gone on to vocational school or university; one is completing medical school and will subsequently return to run our clinic. Others have trained in trade and found employment.  We strive to help each of our children meet their potential in education, but most importantly we provide the reality of  a roof over their head, clean water to drink, medical care, dental care, a quality school to attend and hope for the future.  It is our sincere hope that our projects outlast and perseveres far beyond our mortal lives.

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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