Liberia: Rotary Club of Monrovia to Hosts Fundraising Gala to Raise US$50k in Support of State-of-the-art Learning Center and Public Library

MONROVIA – For Leo Nupolu-Johnson, it all comes down to the commitment of nation building through innovation and opportunities for Liberians to provide the leadership needed for transformation. “The same opportunities that children everywhere around the world are enjoying, our children too deserve the same. The children in this country have suffered too much for too long,” said Johnson, Executive Director of Empowerment Squared, a Canada-based charitable organization now operating in Liberia. 

On Saturday, April 30, 2022, a special Gala under the theme “Foundations of the Future” will be hosted by the Rotary Club of Monrovia in partnership with Empowerment Squared in support the Liberian Learning Center, currently being built in Paynesville, Liberia, which will house Liberia’s first comprehensive learning center and serve as a hub for personal and professional development including a public library.

The Liberian Learning Center initiative is a collaborative project led by Empowerment Squared in partnership with Rotary International, Rotary Club of Hamilton, Rotary Club of Monrovia, Paynesville City Corporation, mcCallumSather Architects, and Hamilton Public Library, and Tri Buchanan Development Corporation at an estimated cost of 2 million dollars. The Center is currently being built in three phases on the site of Paynesville City Hall and will include Liberia’s first postwar comprehensive learning center and public library, co-working and business incubation spaces, sports and recreation facilities, and event facilities.

The event is themed “Foundations of the Future” recognizing that Empowerment Squared was founded and is led by Leo Nupolu Johnson, a former Liberian refugee in Canada and is now empowering Liberians to create a brighter future for their country in partnership with international stakeholders.

This project has been under development for several years in close collaboration with the Paynesville City Corporation, and is supported by several organizations, including Rotary International and several branches of Rotary in North America and Liberia, the Youth Bridge Foundation, mcCallumSather Architects and numerous other groups and individuals. Construction commenced last September and is expected to be completed in the next 18 months as a transformational undertaking in Liberia led by Liberians.

According to Johnson, “as Liberians, we need to commit to the process of nation building consistently and be willing to accept the fact that we may not be alive when the full impact of our efforts is fully realized – that is the greatest gift we can give the next generation.”   

At the groundbreaking ceremony which took place at the Paynesville City Hall two years ago, Johnson explained that the concept for the center started with an idea and a vision some eight years ago, when he saw the need of creating a space where Liberians, especially students can have quality and adequate access to educational materials, competing with peers in similar age groups around the world.

Johnson, who spent eight years in refugee camps, after fleeing war-torn Liberia in 1998 and arrived in Canada in 2006 as a Canadian government-sponsored refugee, says he saw the opportunity of being a refugee in Canada not only about himself but also about what he could do for the people he left back home. “It was easy to just focus on what I will get but it is important for me to think about what I can do for Liberia because the problems are immense,” he said.