February 5th, 2018
Liberia Learning Centre
We have proudly supported the work of the Liberia Learning Center and Empowerment Squared for eight years. This Hamilton-based charity is spear-heading the much needed initiative to deliver a state-of-the-art community learning space to this West African country.
Empowerment Squared was founded by Leo Johnson, who spent eight years in refugee camps after fleeing war-torn Liberia in 1998. Since arriving in Canada in 2006, Leo has split his time between Hamilton and Liberia in order to champion his vision for an organization that transforms Liberian communities through education, youth engagement, leadership development and grassroots partnerships.
One of the world’s poorest countries, Liberia has an adult literacy rate of 43% and formal employment rate of just 15%.
In collaboration with Empowerment Squared, we have designed a state-of-the-art multi-purpose facility intended to house the country’s first public library since the outbreak of civil war in 1989. The Liberia Learning Center will also feature a gymnasium, collaborative learning spaces and outdoor amenity areas. The intention of the project is to be a place for refuge, learning, community and playing. It has been designed around the three core principals of safety, sustainability and connection.
Much consideration has been given to security, including safe building access and interior and exterior lighting, ensuring the centre will be a safe space for members of the community. Sustainable design principals have been incorporated through all points of design. For example, the orientation and slope of the roof will take advantage of the heavy and frequent rainfall, collecting rainwater to feed toilets and other facilities in the building. Well placed eaves play a significant role in passive climate control, providing important shade for users to sit out of the hot sun, and doubling up as extra amenity space for activities. The project will aim to use locally sourced craftsmen and materials to ensure the Liberia Learning Center has an enduring connection to its community and provide ongoing opportunities for maintenance and employment.
The center will be cornerstone of the community, created to inspire and built to support the development of Liberia.