Monrovia — The Antoinette Tubman Stadium in Monrovia was full of fanfare and jubilation at the event marking the 2nd graduation ceremony of the Christ Embassy Vocational School on Sunday. The school, run by the Christ Embassy Church in Liberia graduated almost 800 women following intensive training in basic life skills.
Delivering the keynote address, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Williametta Saydee-Tarr lauded the Church for its contribution to national development by empowering the women.
Minister Saydee-Tarr also pledged the Government through the Ministry of Gender's commitment in working to empower women amid several challenges confronting them.
She revealed that President George Weah has appropriated US$2 million as micro loan to support small businesses and called on the women to take advantage of the opportunity.
"The President has appropriated US$2 million dollars for micro loan. So, as you graduate today make sure to get to the Ministries of Commerce and Finance in order to benefit from the loan in establishing your businesses, she said.
Also speaking at the event, ex-president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf thanked the Church for doing what the nation longs for, and that is "A longing to take all of our young women and give them a skill, to enable them and empower them to be the one that can stand up on their own, and be self-sufficient and hold a job, and be able to pursue their dreams."
Addressing the graduates, she said "I want to congratulate you and want to say to you that what you have learned is not the end of the story, it is not the end of your road, it is not the end of your education. You just the first step, now you got to go the other step. Get more education, prepare yourself even more."
She said the decision taken by the graduates to become professional to learn skills was the best decision they could have ever make in their lives.
Earlier, she thanked the Church's Pastor for the immense support to the women.
Also speaking, Pastor Alfred W. Mayson said the vocational school is the Church's way of contributing to nation building. This year, he said he was excited that the number of graduates doubled from 400 last year to almost 800 this year.
He said women are vulnerable people in the society, and the initiative launched is to empower them to support themselves and their families.
"I am grateful for the impact. Women are vulnerable group of people in the nation. Many of them look up to men for support. But I am glad to see many young women and the older lady empowered with the skills to make money. I see that it is good for the nation. And it is the way of buttressing government's effort, to promote the nation. That is today, we are grateful to God."
He announced that additional two branches of the school will be established in Gardnersville (all women) and the Borough of New Kru Town (all men).
The school is free of charge, and although it is expensive to operate, the "Church is blessed to be a blessing."
"There is no strings attached. It is expensive but is the church is there to buttress Government's effort. This is the way forward."
Speaking at the event, some of the graduates thanked the Christ Embassy Church for the knowledge gained.
Miatta Molubah of the tailoring department called on her colleagues to take advantage in learning to do something to be a help to society.
"I want to tell my friend women that it is good to learn something. If you learn you can earn. We entered this school we did not know how to pair machine but now we are proud tailor," she stated.
Lewis Twah of the catering department expressed excitement over what she has acquired from the vocational school, and planned to establish her own business.