LIBERIA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE (LEDI) AT A GLANCE
Liberia Economic Development Initiative (LEDI) is a Cleveland-based 501 (c) (3) tax exempt nonprofit organization, with an international focus, founded in 2007 to reduce poverty and increase the economic capacity of the severely marginalized and disadvantaged people of Liberia, West Africa, who have been burdened by years of chronic poverty, following a 15 year civil crisis and the recent West African Ebola epidemic.
LEDI Primary Objectives:
LEDI’s primary objectives are to reduce poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, diseases, and underdevelopment in Liberia through a comprehensive approach by providing:
1. Microfinance: Microloans, business development, and training
2. Education: Scholarships, school supplies, teacher stipends
3. Healthcare: Medical supplies, patient and healthcare workers subsidies
4. Infrastructure: Build modern libraries, schools, clinics, wells, latrines, roads
5. Youth Development: Leadership development and sports training camps
6. Sisterly Institutions: Develop sisterly relationships among institutions
LEDI’s motto is "Reducing poverty, changing lives." This is not just our motto, it is the heart of our mission. Whether we are empowering youth, providing small business loans, promoting health and safety, building infrastructure, or alleviating the sufferings of rural and urban poor and low income households, our central focus remains to reduce poverty, thereby positively changing the lives of members of the nearly two-third Liberian population living in abject poverty.
LEDI – Leann Peiffer Scholarship Fund:
In Liberia, all students must pay the full cost for their public school educations. Extreme poverty has weakened the capacity of many parents to send their children to school. As a result, 20.8% of children between the ages of 5-14 are involved in child labor to help support their families. The LEDI-Leann Peiffer Scholarship Fund provides renewing education scholarships to cover the cost of tuition, books, and uniforms for the academic pursuits of 10-15 students annually. Scholars range from elementary to college students from across the country who due to severe poverty would otherwise not be able to afford a formal education.
LEDI Modern Library Project:
With no public library in the country, LEDI is raising funds to build modern public libraries in the country to enrich local communities, starting with our current project in Sinoe County, Liberia. Once built, we plan to forge an ongoing partnership between this library and Cleveland Public Library.
LEDI CSU Ebola Fundraiser:
In partnership with Cleveland State University and through the generous donations of hundreds of individual private donors throughout NE Ohio and the United States, LEDI donated over $7,000 in cash, medical and sanitation supplies to the following Liberian hospitals and charities: ELWA Hospital, Samaritan’s Purse, Benson Hospital, Redemption Hospital, Island Hospital, James N. Davies Memorial Hospital, THT Clinic, Jaw Community Clinic, and John F. Kennedy Hospital.
Over the past 8 years, we have partnered with UNICEF Liberia, UNDP Liberia, Cleveland State University, Margaret Wong and Associates, Forest City Enterprises, The City of Cleveland, Global Cleveland, and others.
To learn more about our organization and life changing initiatives, visit http://www.ledinow.org.
Liberia’s History and Key Facts :
o Liberia, which means “land of the free,” is Africa’s first republic, founded in 1847 by the American Colonization Society to settle approximately 12,000 freed American slaves in West Africa.
o Liberia is a West Africa country bordering the Atlanta Ocean, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Guinea of 43,000 square miles or slightly larger than Tennessee.
o Liberia’s capital city, Monrovia, was named in honor of U.S. president James Monroe.
o Liberia’s government, constitution, flag, and currency were modeled after the United States.
o Liberia is an English speaking country, with a population of 4.2 million people composed of 16 different ethnic groups, including a 5% Americo-Liberian population (descendants of former American slaves).
o Liberia’s devastating 15 year civil crisis, which was fought by warring factions, enlisted over 15,000 child soldiers, killed over 250,000 people and displaced a half million, and decimated the country.
o Today, Liberia is the 4th poorest nation in the world with a literacy rate of 60.8% (188 out of 194 African nations), 84% unemployment rate and median age of 18 years old.
o Of the 2400 schools that existed prior to the 15 year civil crisis, 80 % are nonoperational and the majority of the operating schools are in subpar condition, lacking electricity, running water, books, computers, and libraries.