Collins Michal Mbeta started painting as a passion after he completed his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education in the year 2017, an activity which has consequently played a vital role in ensuring that income is generated to meet his daily needs.
His goal was to further his education to a higher level of learning but his parents were unable to raise the required school fees.
The talented 22-year-old, a resident of Huruma Town in Uasin Gishu County, started developing his painting talent while working in his uncle’s painting business premises as a cleaner where his duties strictly included washing of used containers and the arrangement of painted pictures after they were framed. He was under instructions that he must not do any painting.
But he was irresistibly curious about what his uncle was doing. He resorted to just keenly observe as his uncle worked and during such times, the uncle noticed the boy’s interest and opted to offer him training. And that is how Michal’s painting career begun.
“Cleaning the used containers after the painting of pictures was never enough for me. What I wanted and desired most was to do the actual painting as my uncle did. I used to hold and admire my uncle’s paintings a lot and wished that I could also do the same,” he recalls.
Michal however did not stop doing his cleaning job to get trained. The uncle organised in such a way that the training sessions happened during the course of his duties.
And in only three weeks, Michal became a qualified painter. He says he became competent so fast because he was passionate about the art.
“I am grateful to my parents for the overwhelming support they showed me throughout my life and especially during my training sessions. They encouraged me to work hard in life, make good use of every opportunity that presents itself to me and make good use of my talent which is likely to bring prosperity,” says Michal.
When KNA visited him along the busy Eldoret-Nakuru highway at Pioneer area, a few meters from Eldoret Town in Uasin Gishu County, we found him painting pictures with satisfaction.
Michal operates his work beside Eldoret-Nakuru highway at an open place, which makes it difficult for him to perform his duties during unconducive weather conditions.
“I am sometimes forced by rainy weather conditions to pack my stuff and return home in the middle of the day because I don’t have anywhere to shelter my art works. Many people do not know about the existence of my work which makes it difficult for me to have sufficient market,” says Michal.
He pleads with the County Government in partnership with the National Government and the well-wishers to step in and support him and many other talented people across the country who are faced with such challenges.
His three years’ experience as a painter has enabled him to create and paint different pictures with captions which he says are loved and valued by his customers
To date, Michal who is a father of one, says that painting still earns him good money besides the challenges encountered. He says he uses the income to meet his family’s basic needs.
He holds that if he gets a good working place with shelter, from a Good Samaritan or the county government, where he can work for the whole day without any interference, he is capable of employing two to three people to work with him.
Even with the many challenges, Michal still aspires to become a role model to the youths in terms of being self-employed.
“I want to pass a hopeful message to thousands of jobless youth across the country and make them deliberately understand that opportunities are always there waiting for us to go after them. Get out of your comfort zone and join me fearlessly as we work on our talents alongside exploring business opportunities instead of waiting for the government to provide us with employment,” says the determined Michal.
By Phelix Kipsang and Mercy Chepkoech