COMMIT a Project of the Rotary Club of Stratford Charitable Foundation and in Partnership with NPH Nicaragua

We are a team of dedicated volunteer doctors, nurses, medical professionals and individuals from Southwestern Ontario who have a love for helping the less fortunate in Nicaragua. We work under the umbrella of the Rotary Club of Stratford Charitable Foundation.

Our team's mandate is to provide long-term commitment to a few communites by offering medical clinics, and other outreach services such as clean drinking water, sanitation, eco-friendly stoves, and sustainable agriculture in the form of family gardens, as well as educational and social support.

Yearly a team travels to Nicaragua to provide care out in the communities as well as supporting the NPH orphanage where we stay. We work in close conjunction with the NPH Home for disadvantaged children, the international committee of the Rotary Club of Stratford, Canada and Granada Nicaragua, healthcare workers in Nicaragua, and a network of organizations in Nicaragua including local government, and hospitals. COMMIT promotes microeconomics and we try to empower the local population to contribute to our projects, including some cost sharing endeavors.

To donate go to our donation page:

Our Next Missions:

To be announced pending covid19 restrictions being lifted

Contact us at

Introducing our Executive

Doug Thompson co-leader and founder of COMMIT.

They call me Dr Doug and although I helped develop the group I in no way feel special. We are always part of a team where each member has an equally valuable role to play. I have always felt that life has treated me well and better than 90% of the world so I started doing missions initially as a curiosity but soon as a passion  where there is so much to experience and learn and be humbled by.. Not always easy but always rewarding so in the end I am the lucky one. You will never get this type of adventure as a tourist and never the reward as a bystander.Doug Thompson is a medical doctor who has practiced Family Medicine in Stratford, ON for 40 years. He is now semi retired and works part-time in geriatric medicine. He has also been an active Rotarian for 40 years . He has done mission trips to the Dominican Republic, Mexico and for the last 10 years to Nicaragua. he was part of a dedicated Team that formed COMMIT to combat the terrible poverty in Central America. His CENTRAL wish is that we do more to help the disadvantaged in 3rd world countries and more generously share the abundant wealth we so obviously have in Canada.Hi. 

Janice Rauser- co-leader and founder of COMMIT

I am a registered nurse at Stratford Hospital on the maternal Child unit and have worked there for the past 18 years. I am also mother to four +1 beautiful children and wife to Mark.

Eight years ago I had the opportunity to go on a medical mission to Nicaragua and it was life-changing. Meeting the beautiful people of Nicaragua and seeing how they lived in such poverty really shook me up. You can see pictures or even videos, but being there is so much more powerful. The people live in shacks with tin roofs, dirt floors and only a blanket for a door. They sleep in hammocks or on the floor while animals freely walk in and out of their homes. The children have no toys to play with other than what we give them at our medical clinics.  It was heartbreaking to see how they struggled to survive with so little, struggled to feed their families, everyday of their lives a struggle.. 

When I flew home two weeks later, I  left a part of me in Nicaragua and I was determined to do my part in improving their lives any way possible.  Since then a major amount of my time has been spent fundraising, getting containers of supplies ready to ship, putting teams together to work in Nicaragua for a few weeks each year and my favourite part, going to Nicaragua. All four of my children have gone multiiple times with me to do the mission work too which has been amazing. My motto was and is “I cannot do all of the good that the world needs, but the world needs all of the good that I can do”.  So I will do it!! And through this commitment and determination of myself and a few others to change lives of those less fortunate, COMMIT was born. 

One of the most striking things for me was seeing where they got their drinking water from, which honestly made my stomach turn. The water that they drank either came from the river (which animals walked through and used as a bathroom)  or a shallow, contaminated well. Yuck, no wonder when asked at our medical clinics how much they drank, they replied, ‘ a glass per day?”  I would have trouble drinking that water too. Their need for clean drinking water and proper sanitation was dire and this became one of our top priorities as a mission group. I think it’s hard for us here in Canada to imagine not having access to clean, safe water, but that’s their reality. We have seen the improvements in their health in San Luis and Nandarola after providing them with clean water  and look forward to drilling more wells in other underprivileged villages. 

Why do I do the work I do? It’s the people, the country, the work that still needs to be done there. We have so much here in Canada, we are so blessed, to be able to give to others in need is what my happiness is about. Thankyou Rotary Club of Stratford for believing in COMMIT and supporting our work and projects. 


Pat and Jane Feryn- Agricultural project Managers

Pat is an agronomist and Jane is a Landscape Architect and we live on a farm south of Stratford. Two years ago we had the dream and vision to start an agricultural project in Nicaragua to improve their diet with healthy vegetables. Our background gave us the knowledge of what was needed to get the project off of the ground and with the help and skills of our friend Jimmy the project was started. 

David Knoppert - head of Fundraising

David Knoppert is a retired hospital pharmacist, originally from Toronto, but has lived in London since 1986. David, and his wife, Diane, have a 4 year old Golden Retriever, named Smudge. Over a period of 25 years David has visited China, Ghana, Cuba, Guyana, Dominican Republic and Mexico, as well as several trips to Nicaragua with COMMIT. "I have seen poverty all over the world. When I was young I only heard about it, but as I got older I experienced it first hand", says David. Since retiring in 2013 David has gone on a number of mission trips through his church, Rotary and most recently with COMMIT. "I want to help others in different countries who do not have the opportunities and supports that we have in Canada. It is one way in which I can give back."



Mike Rosser

My name is Mike Rosser and it has been my pleasure to volunteer with the COMMIT Team over the past year. It was my privilege to join the Medical Team in Nicaragua last January. I saw first hand the incredible positive impact COMMIT is making in the lives of the Nicaraguan people. 

I’ve been on many humanitarian missions over the past 30 years and volunteered with several groups in Guyana, Haiti, Dominican Republic and Guatemala. 
With more than 45 years experience in healthcare supply chain management and hospital support services, my focus working with these third world countries has been soliciting surplus medical equipment and supplies; logistics, setting up systems and administrative consulting. 
After retiring 10 years ago as General Manager, Healthcare Materials Management Services (HMMS), my focus as been consulting across Canada, the United States and Saudi Arabia. As a full time retiree, my interest now is being a full time Papa to 5 incredible grandchildren, volunteering, wood carving and what ever my wife tells me to do. 

Beverly Neeb

Mission work was on my radar as something I wanted to do in retirement. A connection to COMMIT fell into my lap and soon I had found a happy home with the group. The work is sometimes physically hard, whether in the heat and sun of Nicaragua, or on a cold November day in Ontario loading our shipping container, but I always feel good inside.

I worked in the newspaper industry and in later years, at a health unit. At our clinics in six remote villages my translator and I had the privilege of fitting seniors, as well as those with diabetes or foot issues, with a new pair of shoes supplied by Adidas. Nicaraguans arrive at our clinics wearing flip-flops or worn, thin-soled shoes. So these brand new shoes are a god-send to these folks. Before fitting them, we washed their feet, an action truly appreciated by our clients and heart-warming for us. I have never received so many hugs and whispers of “Dios bendiga” (God bless).

Music is a big part of my life, having taught piano and leading the music at my church for many years. In Nicaragua, I work with teachers in one of our remote villages, helping them with some of the basics of rhythm and reading notes on a staff. Rhythm seems to be part of the gene structure of Nicaraguans and if given a chance, these teachers will be able to pass the love and pleasure of music onto their students.

In comparison to most any Nicaraguan, my life has been trouble-free. It is a privilege to be able to help in a small way to make life a little better for our friends in Central America. 

Mary O’Rourke, a recent addition to the COMMIT team.
I joined the COMMIT team last fall, after learning about their work in Nicaragua to help create a sustainable, healthy community, and to improve the lives of village residents.
As a retired Director of Conference Management at the University of Victoria, I have no health care experience, but I know there is work for me on the team. I want to share my skills and experience to support the overall work of the team and work on the many projects. I have not been to Nicaragua yet, so I have become the team’s recording secretary and am involved in fund raising.
I am proud to be a member of COMMIT and am phenomenally impressed with the huge, selfless commitment the committee members have made over the years, and the sense of family and team support that they have developed.

Edgar Avilia- COMMIT Country liason and project Manager

My name is Edgar Avila I am a former pequeno from Mexico. I have been with Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos (NPH) which means Our little Brothers and Sisters since I was 11 years old. I have worked and lived in Nicaragua for more that 22 years. I married a beautiful Nicaraguan and have two incredible boys. My life has been blessed and growing up in a home where people always see and care for the less fortunate in the poorest countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, has impacted my focus on life. So, Rotary and COMMIT fit right in my beliefs. I thank God for the opportunity he has given me to belong to Rotary and COMMIT and this wonderful Canadian team. It is work that always gives a lot of effort into making a difference and positive impact in the country of Nicaragua.
GRACIAS! Thank you...

Jimmy Espinzo- Agricultural Project Agronomist and Translator

I Jimmy Espinoza am a translator and interpreter for COMMIT Canada in several areas (medical, construction, agriculture etc) I am also a farmer by family experience with knowledge in farming fruits, vegetables, plantains and others. I am fully committed to pour my knowledge into areas that are needed and committed to help families and the community improve their quality of life and make a better life for themselves

Why do I work for COMMIT? I work for COMMIT because it is an organization focused on improving the quality of life for my fellow Nicaraguan people through the investment of lots of different projects. COMMIT reaches out to the communities and empowers them with the necessary tools to be self-sufficient and to eventually be better citizens for our country.