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Talented painter appeals for support

It is through undying hope, ambition and courage that one can continue pressing on in any given field of work and studies despite several obstacles in challenging environments.

Amidst this scenario, meet a talented 17-year-old Wellslin Nyaruwai, a determined and a self-employed artist, who draws and paints different varieties of pictures at Rupas Mall area on the Eldoret Nakuru highway some few meters from Eldoret Town in Uasin Gishu County.

Nyaruwai, a resident from Munyaka, sat for her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) in 2020 and despite hardships and challenges she encountered during her entire schooling phase, gracefully, she managed to score a B plus grade.

Since her childhood, she aspired and believed that she was going to join University of Nairobi but unfortunately, her dream was cut short, even after passing KCSE, as her parents couldn’t afford school fees due to overwhelming poverty in the family of four.

Before becoming a painting artist, Nyaruwai says she used to wash clothes for people and clean their houses and use half of the proceeds to support and buy food for her jobless parents and siblings and saved the rest.

“I never loved what I was doing because I used to overwork. I would toil the whole day without resting under strict supervision, for me to earn income, an activity which always caused me to have health complications because of my underage compared to what I was doing. I had no otherwise but to do it for survival,” narrated Nyaruwai.

She recounts clearly how her passion for painting started during her high school days, where she used to consistently draw many pictures and at the same time learnt drawing techniques from YouTube, adding more exposure and creativity, an activity which made her develop more interest in artistic painting, not knowing what this would hold in store for her.

The ‘iron girl’ says that after working for close to nine months, having saved up to Sh10,000, she used the proceeds to purchase drawing and painting materials and embarked on painting pictures of local people, celebrities and animals and selling them.

“I decided to visit Rupas Mall to display the artwork as well as roadsides where shoppers and travellers could be attracted easily and that is when clients started flowing,” she said.

When KNA visited her open air working place located opposite Rupas Mall, located a few meters from Eldoret town, we found her painting one of her client’s pictures.

Nyaruwai admits there are many challenges she experiences while performing her work, for instance, the harsh weather conditions, insecurity and lack of sufficient capital to expand her business.

“Painting of pictures on the highway, needs an individual to always wear a smiling face no matter the challenges encountered and be ready to answer all sorts of questions that the client may ask. Since I started working here, I have met all sorts of people; some appreciate my work while others caution me that I am supposed to be at school instead of working. As a painter, I need to build a good rapport with all clients and ensure that they visit again,” she says.

Caroline Menjo, one of her clients confirms that Nyaruwai is a hard-working girl who really does her work beyond expectations despite working in an unfavourable environment.

“I am absolutely happy with her work, as she doesn’t disappoint her clients. She is still a young teenager who inspires many who are even above her age and thus deserve to be supported because even this place where she does her painting, is not secured,” says Menjo.

Nyaruwai is of the conviction that she will join university and pursue an artistic course. She is still determined that her dream will one day come true, as she calls upon the County Government of Uasin Gishu alongside the National Government and other well-wishers to intervene and help her realize her dream. She appreciates that painting still earns her some money to fend for herself irrespective of the challenges.

“I am humbly appealing to the county government to step in and at least provide me with a secure place where I can do my paintings without many disturbances. Some people who pass by the road sometimes take advantage of my age and gender. I’ve experienced sexual molestation. Others pick the artwork, then take off without paying thus making me incur loses.

She says that she aspires to inspire thousands of youths outside there who may have completed school or not that they should not sit doing nothing and wait for their parents to do everything for them, but instead should be creative, make good use of their talents and venture in various businesses.

“I call upon the jobless youths in the society, to stop procrastinating what we want to do. We can all do it by ourselves without depending on anyone. We can all strive for excellence if only we started thinking positively and shying away from our comfort zones. Let us all work together and support one another by nurturing our talents and venturing into businesses for a better tomorrow,” she encouraged.

By Phelix Kipsang

 

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