Upcoming March 2016 Trip

In just under two weeks, Espwa will send a team of medical professionals to the Cap Haitien, Haiti area for a 10 day medical mission.  We’re excited to have multiple providers, nurses, and an occupational/physical therapist on this trip as we meet up with our in-country medical director, Dr. Eugene Maklin. These types of missions are our primary “relief” work, whereas many of our other projects focus on rehabilitation and development.

The team will see hundreds of patients per day and throughout the trip will serve at both the Blue Hills and St. Anthony clinics.  Dr. Maklin has also arranged for information-sharing tours of the Hospital Judstidian (main public hospital in Cap Haitien), as well as his own budding hospital in the Plaine-du-Norde region, still under construction.

While the medical team sees patients, a smaller non-medical team will visit other Espwa project sites, such as Jovenel’s Farm and Haitian Creole Tour, and meet with local network partners.  Over the weekend, both teams will hopefully be able to meet with our Peace & Joy Families, as we continue to encourage and show them love.  We also intend to use the services of Haitian Creole Tour for transportation and likely a trip to the beach on one of the days.

We’d appreciate your prayers as we lead up to and during the trip.  If you’d like to make a donation towards trip expenses, one of our biggest needs is in the purchase of medications to take into country.  The medications are prescribed to patients as needed and we are taking a lot this time due to the number of projected patients we’ll see.  You can only imagine some of the heartbreaking conditions our Haitian friends cope with – due to the combination of tropical diseases, malnourishment, poor sanitation, and unclean drinking water in the region.  Many people are faced with the choice between eating or seeing the doctor, and when put in that position, medical care takes the back seat.  Every little bit helps!

Make a Donation for Medications

Look for an update and pictures following the trip, and thanks for your interest!

Creative Fundraisers Make an Impact

What makes a good fundraiser? We’ve all seen our share of lame fundraising campaigns growing up (magazine subscription sales, candy bar peddling…need we say more), so when a creative fundraising idea comes along, it really stands out.  Here at Espwa, we’ve been blessed over the past few years to see some of these ideas come to fruition.  We’re humbled by the number of supporters who continue to surprise us with innovative ways to share our story and raise funds for our projects at the same time.  Below are just a few examples of things we’ve seen that might spark your own creativity:

Cookie Fundraiser

A young girl at Northgate Church, Pittsburgh, PA, has been a supporter of our Peace & Joy Family Project since the beginning. Now 13 years old, she created a “Peace & Joy Cookie Camp,” where a team of volunteers taught 35 kids to bake cookies and cakes. The baked items were then sold, and over $2000 was raised! Read more about this event here.

Sea Glass Jewelry

After traveling to Haiti in 2015, the co-owner of DKC Creations, a Pennsylvania-based jewelry business, created a line of sea glass jewelry dedicated to supporting Haiti.  The all-green line of products called “Glass of Hope” is sold to others at wholesale prices or placed at business locations, and any proceeds of the resulting sales are donated to Espwa.

Slow Machete

After experiencing the beauty and richness of Haitian choirs during several trips, Espwa Executive Director, Joe Shaffer, was inspired to support them through a new musical collaboration known as Slow Machete. The recordings of Haitian choirs are woven with downtempo and Cuban rhythms, for a truly unique sound. Check out Slow Machete’s albums here.

The Hunger Project

The youth group at Northgate Church, Pittsburgh, PA, has held numerous Hunger Project campaigns to help the Peace & Joy Family Project. Besides fasting for 30 hours to show solidarity with malnourished children in Haiti, the youth group members completed service projects for other members of the church. These projects, such as painting, repairs, or yard work, were all done for donations. These campaigns have raised upwards of $11,000 in a single weekend!


Espwa has typically hosted an annual concert that brings together local artists and other individuals with a passion for Haiti. The Espwa story and projects are interwoven throughout the concert to give attendees a bigger picture of our work. Other local artists have held their own benefit concerts and events to support Espwa, such as the one we discussed here.


An ultramarathoner in Pittsburgh pledged to run for 30 hours straight in order to raise awareness of and generate support for Espwa. All told, he ran nearly 120 miles and all proceeds went to Espwa projects.


We’ve seen countless “drives” for various items that were then taken to Haiti on one of our trips, or shipped there to our local liaisons. These are a great way to get a workplace, church group, or group of friends energized about Haiti. Past drives have collected vitamins, clothes, school supplies, shoes/crocs, birthing kits, soap, toothpaste, and Christmas bags.

Selling Haitian Goods

Each trip, we tend to come back with various items of Haitian culture, such as art, wooden boxes, or carvings. Haiti is also known for its vanilla. There have been events and online sales centered around re-selling these items, with proceeds coming back to Espwa.

Local Service Organizations & Mission Committees

Motivated supporters have taken the Espwa story to their local Rotary Clubs, their church’s mission committees or boards, or other community organizations. We’ve been blessed with many donations of this type, but it all starts when someone interacts with his or her community and paints the vision of how donations will make an impact in Haiti.

Selling Parties

We’ve seen all kinds of things sold at parties with all proceeds donated to Espwa. From CAbi clothing to Silpada Jewelry, and everything in between, these events are a good way to interact with friends, tell the Espwa story, and sell items that people are already interested in.

Personal Networks/Fundraising Letters

After trips to Haiti, many motivated students and adults have started fundraising campaigns to generate support for certain projects that touched them during the trip. A college student raised several thousand dollars for the Peace & Joy Family Project, and another supporter raised money to fund the welding generator for Pastor Benjamin, purchased in December 2015, all through the power of their personal networks.


Upcoming this May, Espwa members and supporters are participating in the Pittsburgh Marathon to raise funds. Espwa is one of the official charities that race participants can choose to support.  Check here for more information.


With all these ideas, how will YOU make an impact on the lives of those we serve in Haiti?  We encourage you to get out and make a difference every day, however you’ve been gifted to do so!


Duquesne Speaking Event

On Monday, February 8th, the Espwa team presented our work and story to students and faculty at the Mylan School of Pharmacy, Duquesne University.

Espwa VP Chris Pfeiffer began with an overview of our work and current projects, followed by Gary Molinaro, Espwa Financial Director, who spoke about financial concerns when operating a non-profit in Haiti.  Espwa President Jen Schmidt video-conferenced into the event and provided a unique perspective on typical diseases and illnesses that medical professionals experience when practicing in Haiti.

We hope this event marks the beginning of a great partnership between Espwa and the Mylan School of Pharmacy.  The prospect of involving future classes of pharmacy students in our work is exciting, and motivates us to keep persevering in this great cause.

If you’re interested in making a donation that will pay for medications on our upcoming trip in March 2016, please click below.

Help Us Bring Meds in March!