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Father Marc Talks about Espwa Schools – Camp Perrin

Poverty Keeps Haitian Kids from School 

The World Bank recently reported that more than 200,000 Haitian children lack access to any form of education. 

This is partly due to the fact that 90% of Haitian schools are privately run and require tuition fees. This represents a significant barrier to entry for many children whose families cannot afford the cost of tuition, books, transport and uniforms.  

Thankfully, Espwa schools provide affordable education to over 1200 resident and non-resident kids from Southern Haiti communities.  A nominal tuition is asked for, but like many Catholic schools in the US, families that cannot pay the low tuition fees are never turned away.

Your Support Keeps Espwa Schools Affordable for All.


Click on the short video clip below to hear
Father Marc talk about
founding his first school at Camp-Perrin

Our School Lunch Programs Fight Malnutrition

Hunger and malnutrition present a big problem in both long and short-term academic performance. 


Enter Pwoje Espwa’s school lunch program!

Our program feeds each student a warm lunch every day. Studies show that comparable school lunch programs in the U.S. improved attendance, in-class focus and comprehension, higher standardized test scores and improved overall academic performance. 


Haitian children are no different than our own.  

They deserve a chance to learn and grow so that they can eventually live
independently with dignity.


Our schools are totally dependent upon your support.  
Please help us keep our schools open and thriving.


Donate today to help educate a
child in Haiti.


Spread the Joy this Holy Season

The Unconditional Kindness of Strangers

In this beautiful video sponsored by Cross Catholic Outreach, you will see the living conditions of many of our children in Les Cayes, and then experience a day of celebrations as students sang, danced and received gifts–2,400 Boxes of Joy sent from the United States.

As each child opened their boxes, smiles of gratitude shined through. Many were awed by this rare chance to receive a gift of unconditional kindness from a stranger.  Most responded by sharing their gifts with their friends and family, extending the spirit of giving even further in the community!

As we celebrate Passover and Easter this week please do not forget these children who grow up with very little opportunity. Pray for those who provide them a hand up.  And remember that your gifts can make a tremendous difference in each of their lives. 

Every day, Free the Kids and the Espwa staff bring joy and opportunity to these children. Help us keep the spirit of giving going throughout the year.

Spread the Joy!



Box of Joy Days (UPDATED)

Espwa, Camp-Perrin and Torbeck Children Celebrate 
Box of Joy Days


UPDATED: Related published videos, stories and interviews (latest at top):


We were blessed to have had 1200 kids from Espwa schools (resident and non-resident) joined by another 1200 from local community schools to participate in “Box of Joy” celebrations.

The events were made possible through our partnership with Cross Catholic Outreach.


Celebrations were held on March 16th at Torbeck, March 22nd at Camp-Perrin, and March 23rd at Pwoje Espwa.  

School children enjoyed a day of games and music, food and fun.



They also received boxes full of donated gifts such as toys, candy, school supplies, and hygiene products.

The children checking out each other’s boxes to the left are from a Camp-Perrin community school.



Girls from Camp-Perrin School take a moment to show classmates the surprises they found inside their boxes.

After school most of these children spread the joy by sharing the contents of their boxes at home with siblings and friends.



Twelve journalists and videographers joined the Cross Catholic team visit.  These national media members hope to highlight the endless needs in Haiti and the opportunities Espwa provides to each child.

To the left students and families assembled in the Espwa Dining Room await the start of the program.  They enjoyed singing, dancing and speeches from staff.

One of our little guys smiles through a cinder-blocked window at the Pre-school as a classmate looks on.  

Thanks to our many Espwa staff who carefully planned and hosted the days’ events.  


Our kids embraced this experience expressing their pure joy with staff members, our partners, the journalists and their own families.  In the end they gave more to others than they received themselves.  What a wonderful way to spread the love of God during this Lenten Season!





A ‘ray of hope’ in Haiti

Local group brings supplies, donations to struggling region

Article From The Fountain Hills Times

58acafd3e0229.imageAmid the disorganized chaos and extreme poverty in Haiti, Noon Kiwanis Club president Kenneth Brown sees a “ray of hope.”

Despite the unrelenting scarcity that he witnessed, Brown and two other local residents returned home optimistic after a four-day stay at the end of January.

Brown, associate pastor of Fountain Hills Presbyterian Church; Jack Reynolds, founder of Free the Kids charity, and Roger Bates of Christ’s Church of Fountain Hills, learned about a proposed vocational training center in Les Cayes, near Pwoje Espwa, a Creole phrase for Project Hope.

Haitian and Brazilian government officials said the objective is to contribute to the training of young professionals in civil engineering, sewing, electricity, carpentry, tourism and car and motorcycle mechanics.

Reynolds’ brother-in-law, Catholic priest Father Marc Boisvert, operates Pwoje Espwa compound, where Hurricane Matthew extensively demolished roofs, agricultural crops and infrastructure.

The hurricane destroyed three classrooms in one building, forcing a doubling up of students in the remaining structure.

Brown heads fundraising efforts to feed 350 malnourished children daily at Espwa. Funds are within $2,500 of the $30,000 goal. Noon Kiwanis awaits the status of a $10,000 application from Kiwanis International Children’s Fund, said Brown.

Brazil, one of the United Nations’ Security Force countries, plans to invest between $17 and $18 million to build a technical school.

Brazil told Haitian officials that they would build a school, dormitories and educate 3,000 children annually if the government would provide the property.

While in Haiti, Brown learned that 50 percent of the children never receive an education.

“The government had no property. The major of Les Cayes said he knew of 12 to 15 acres on the compound of Espowa where we are focused,” said Brown. “What it means is skilled labor in the part of the country. That opens the possibility of entrepreneurs coming in and starting businesses because of cheap, skilled labor.”

Brown said he believes that the project could be a major economic force within 15 years.

“In that feeling of hopelessness, I saw that bright ray of hope is focused right on Les Cayes,” said Brown.

During the six-hour, 125-mile drive from Port Au Prince, the capital city, to the western end of the peninsula, Les Cayes, the visitors were exposed to unrelenting poverty.

“Teeming masses of people are mired in squalor along that entire route. It doesn’t take long before you conclude that the situation seems hopeless,” said Brown.

“What chance do these people have of ever improving their bitter lot in life? What possible prospect do all these children in colorful uniforms marching on the shoulder of a busy highway have of living a better life than their parents? It’s all too easy to conclude that there is none.”

As a 19-year-old in the 1960s, Bates experienced the hopeless and devastation of Korea. He believes Haiti can turn around its economy in much the same way that Korea did. The Asian country convinced Hyundai to build cars there and uplifted the people from poverty.

“I hope to see something similar happen in Haiti in my lifetime,” said Bates.

Business pledges to Free the Kids for the Haitian feeding program came from Discount Tire Fountain Hills, Handy Man Now, Mountain View Thai Coffee House, Sami Fine Jewelry, Auto Research Automotive Repair, Pro Force Heating and Air Conditioning. Phil’s Filling Station, Tidy Guys, Kactus Jock, Scottsdale, and Debra Rivera, Simply Marvellous.

Brown can be contacted at or 480-268-3731. The best way to reach Reynolds is The website is



MSNBC story with Father Marc Boisvert, talk about cholera outbreak and other concerns after Hurricane Matthew

Listen to an MSNBC story with Father Marc Boisvert, Founder of Free the Kids talk about cholera outbreak and other concerns after Hurricane Matthew.

To view the story, please click here


Frank Irr named new Executive Director of FTK

Free the Kids Board of Directors announces its select of Frank Irr as the new Executive Director of Free the Kids.


Free the Kids is a nonprofit organization that works to raise funds and awareness for Pwoje Espwa Sud, or “Project Hope,” a 125-acre village and home to 300+ orphaned and vulnerable children in Les Cayes, Haiti. Over 1200 children attend Espwa-sponsored schools.

According to Interim Board Chairman, Neil Dunnavant, “Frank’s leadership was a catalyst for quickly mobilizing food aid to Espwa village and the surrounding community, and to beginning repairs within days after Hurricane Matthew destroyed much of the village.”

The category 4 storm directly hit southwestern Haiti in early October 2016 causing major damage to homes, schools and crops in southwestern Haiti. Pwoje Espwa is a staple in the community, employing nearly 300.  The organization is providing assistance to the local community where no government assistance is offered.

Frank Irr served as chairman of the Free the Kids board from February to October 2016. He joined the board in February 2014. Prior to joining the board, Frank traveled frequently to Espwa to help build and train the Haitian administration staff.

Frank is a founder and senior partner with AIM Consulting Associates. Before forming his company he served 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard.  He is a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and holds a Master’s degree in telecommunication systems management. Frank first met Father Marc Boisvert, founder of Free the Kids when they were stationed together in Kodiak, AK.

Frank and his wife Kathy live in Norwich, CT. They have two grown sons. Frank is a native of Yuma, AZ.




Kiwanis partners with Free the Kids

downloadFree the Kids operates a school with 350 kids in a remote part of the island. Those 350 kids have been evaluated by a doctor and have been found to be severely malnourished, if not starving. But Free the Kids does not have the money to feed these children. I can’t live with that . . . knowing that I / WE could do something about it.

community-outreach-1Eliminating world hunger is way over my pay grade. I don’t know how to tackle that problem. But feeding 350 hungry children in Haiti seems doable, and I have stepped forward to lead the charge to do what I can to raise the money to feed these children. I can’t live with myself, if I don’t try to do it.

Can it be done? I certainly hope so! It will take more than $30,000 to feed these 350 kids for one year. The infrastructure is already in place to get the food to the country, through the ports and to this school. But the money just isn’t there . . . YET! And ALL the money donated for this need will go into a restricted fund at Free the Kids and can’t be used for any other purpose except to buy food and transport it to where these children are.

Thank you for your gracious gift!

President Ken Brown

Noon Kiwanis Fountain Hills



Listen to Father Marc talk about Hurricane Matthew damage at Espwa


Help the victims of Hurricane Matthew


Free the Kids, a US nonprofit organization, whose mission is to support the work of Pwoje Espwa, a village in Les Cayes Haiti, has set up a special donation page to help with Hurricane Matthew efforts.

Pwoje Espwa, is a 125-acre village in Les Cayes, Haiti, which is located on the southern tip very close to where the eye of the Category 4 hurricane hit on early Tuesday, Oct. 4.

Espwa has a full equipped medical clinic and staff, which also serves the local community. Over 300 children live at Espwa. Another 1,200 children attend our schools.

Please continue to pray for Haiti, our children and staff! The entire Free the Kids staff appreicates all the kind words and emails you have sent us. Thank you for your love and support.

To make a special donation to help with Hurricane Matthew please click here 


Free the Kids and Amazon Smile

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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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