President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has challenged the first batch of graduates of the tailoring program at the Julijuah Vocational Training Center (JVTC) in Tehr District, Bomi County, to consider themselves entrepreneurs with a vision to transform their lives and communities.
Re-echoing the graduating class slogan “It Can Happen,” President Sirleaf told the graduates and citizens of Julijuah Town, her hometown, that their lives and environment could become better if they worked hard toward success, a release from the Ministry of Youth & Sports has reported.
“It can happen, because as I look around, many other things can happen,” President Sirleaf said at the commencement ceremony on Sunday, October 30, where 56 trainees received certificates of achievement.
“You people who are graduates are not just tailors. You are entrepreneurs, you are business people. We want to see all of you and those that are not from Julijuah go and open your own companies in your areas, where you can start sewing and producing clothes,” she told the graduates.
President Sirleaf said the tailoring program was also designed to address the issue of children’s outfits.
“When we go around this area (Julijuah and surrounding villages), we see too many kids that are naked; and too many of them in many kinds of bad clothing. This program is meant to address that problem also.
“It (the program) is intended for you to start sewing school uniforms for children in Tehr District and going beyond to Klay and Senjii. But first, we must make that happen here.”
Youth and Sports Minister Saah Charles N’Tow thanked the President for morally and financially working with the Ministry of Youth and Sports to successfully conclude the pilot phase of the program.
“We are hoping that this is a pilot that will serve as a catalyst for the types of development that will draw young people to begin to believe in themselves and learn those skills that will move them and their communities to another level,” the Minister said.
“We started with tailoring. Hopefully, in the next two to three years, we will be getting the best uniforms from this area.”
Addressing the residents’ goal to expand the center, Minister N’Tow noted that his Ministry will try to ensure that courses taught at JVTC are consistent with the “vision” of the Ministry’s technical, vocational, education, and training (TVET) program.
“That vision rests on the idea that whatever training we provide must be demand driven and it must be responsive to labor demands,” Minister N’Tow said.
“Now there is a demand for uniforms in this area, so clearly there is a market and you have a market. Your skills will not go to waste.
“I want you (Bomi citizens) to join me in thinking about other areas of training. As you think on expansion, think about the possibility that whatsoever skill you will learn you will be able to use. That is what’s going to drive this program and other programs.”
JVTC was established in Julijuah Town, the President’s home town where she has established a farm. The Liberian government through a directive from President Sirleaf mandated that JVTC provide practical skills training in tailoring to youth in the area comprising several towns and villages.
The center’s first training cycle included trainees from Julijuah and 10 other towns and villages, including Weamoi, Zordee, Deadilah, Gon Gor, Fomah, Senkor, Mazain, Fehfeh, Gbojay and Baimy.