Jola House, a social enterprise committed to the education and empowerment of vulnerable young Liberian women, on February 23 graduated 19 students, after conducting a 12 months hands-on livelihood skills training.
The women acquired skills apprenticeships in product development and design, pattern making and commercial sewing.
Serving as a quest speaker of the program, the Deputy Chief of Party for Programs at the Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity (LADA), Watchen Harris Bruce, challenged the women to make use of the skills acquired for the betterment of their lives.
“Consider today as you celebrate the skills acquired that this is just the beginning and you need to continue working smart and diligent to achieve your goals of financial independence. No one can do it for you but yourself. You must first tell yourself that you can achieve whatever you put your minds to do,” she told the graduates.
Bruce said that providing financial opportunities for Liberian women, especially the underprivileged ones, is essential in creating an inclusive society where the citizens can become successful enough to contribute to society.
“When people are financially empowered, they can capitalize on their capability and drive to achieve their real economic gains to build a brighter future for themselves, families and the society,” she added.
She thanked Jola House for taking on the initiative to train young Liberian women in basic livelihood skills and called on other women in the communities to take advantage of the program.
Providing an overview of the training program, the founder and Chief Executive Officer, Elfreda Mayson, said the mission of her organization is to transform the lives of vulnerable women through the development of livelihood skills.
“Giving the right tools and opportunities to women will help them determine the economics of their families. Transformation begins with empowerment and empowerment begins with practical skills to meet opportunities,” she said.
Mayson said that since 2012 the program has trained more than 150 women, adding that many of them have started their own businesses.
“We have the passion for serving our country and that is why we returned home to empower the lives of women. Several women who have attended this program have been transformed and they are contributing to their families’ livelihoods,” she added.
The Board Chair of Jola House, Williametta Woods, encouraged the women to take business as a serious venture.
“You can make more money from the skills that you have acquired to support your families. You do not need a college degree in order to become successful,” she told them.
For her part, Joyce Kollie said the program has tremendously changed her life and that of her family. “When I learned about this program few years ago, I thought it wise to take advantage of it and today, because of the skills that I acquired, my life has been transformed thereby owning my own home and supporting my children in school. I would like to encourage other women in the communities to come to the program to improve their lives,” she said.