Breaking Barriers and Empowering Communities in Liberia: Esther Javillie's Journey to Carpentry Instruction

Through UNIDO's Youth Rising project, Esther G.I Javillie challenges stereotypes, inspires change, and nurtures the next generation of skilled carpenters.

Esther G.I Javillie, a civil engineer by profession, has defied societal expectations and embarked on a new journey as a professional carpentry and joinery instructor. Despite initial skepticism about training in furniture making, Esther recognized the immense value in pursuing this path. 

She reflects on her initial doubts, saying, “When I was selected to do training in furniture making, it didn’t make sense to me at first.” However, her determination to challenge norms and make a meaningful impact led her to embrace this unexpected opportunity. 

Hailing from Liberia, Esther is a driven and talented young woman who has fearlessly taken on the challenge of teaching carpentry. As a teacher trainee under the Government of Liberia Technical, Vocational, Education and Training (TVET) program, she is currently undergoing comprehensive training to acquire the necessary skills to become an effective and inspiring instructor. Through this program, Esther is not only honing her technical expertise but also learning pedagogical techniques to effectively transfer her knowledge to others.  

Esther’s motivation to become a TVET teacher stems from her deep-seated desire to empower individuals by equipping them with the knowledge that will help them achieve their life goals. She explains, “I’ve always wanted to empower people, to help them rise and reach a point where they can at least do something for themselves.” Her dedication to empowering others highlights her commitment to making a positive difference in her community and beyond. 

Challenging gender stereotypes is one of the many factors that influenced Esther’s decision to transition from civil engineering to carpentry. She firmly believes that traditionally male-dominated jobs, such as carpentry, can be successfully performed by women as well. By pursuing both civil engineering and carpentry, Esther aims to break the stereotypes that limit opportunities for women in technical and vocational fields. Through her dual expertise, she hopes to inspire and encourage other young women to pursue their passions without constraints imposed by societal norms.  

Esther G.I Javillie during a training session at Furniture Technology Center in Cape Town, South Africa.

Before her carpentry training, Esther possessed no prior knowledge or skills in the field. However, with her training from a prestigious technical institution in South Africa, she has acquired the necessary skills and confidence to contribute to the advancement of the carpentry sector in Liberia. Esther envisions herself as a catalyst for change, playing a pivotal role in enhancing the quality of carpentry education and empowering the next generation of skilled carpenters. 

The European Union and the Government of Sweden, through UNIDO’s Youth Rising project, have provided crucial support to Esther’s journey. Through the project, she received comprehensive training at the renowned Furniture Technology Center in Cape Town, South Africa. The skills and techniques she has gained through this training will not only shape her own career but also position her as an effective carpentry teacher and a role model for numerous young females aspiring to pursue male-dominated trades. 

Esther expresses her gratitude to the European Union and the Government of Sweden, saying, “Thank you for your generous gift. It is through your contributions that I am acquiring a lifelong skill that will help me better my life.” She recognizes the profound impact their support has had on her personal and professional growth, empowering her to make a positive change in her community. 

Esther G.I Javillie’s remarkable journey from civil engineering to carpentry instruction exemplifies her determination to challenge stereotypes and empower others. Her unwavering dedication to breaking barriers and nurturing the next generation of skilled carpenters is an inspiration to aspiring individuals across Liberia and beyond. Through her expertise, she will continue to shape a more inclusive and diverse landscape in technical and vocational education.