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Artist helps slum children paint hope into their lives

Kibera.

Talented children in Kibera can now raise up to Sh10,000 a month for school fees, during their holidays.

With the free time they have during the school breaks, the children from poor families are painting and drawing to earn some money.

Uwezo  Art Gallery director Steve Kyenze says he helps willing children to polish  up their skills and save the money for school fees.

“I sell the artifacts each child has done and  instead of giving the money to their parents, I  save it to pay their school fees,” he said.

As an artist, Kyenze, who runs the centre at Kibera’s Kamukunji area, did not have the children in mind as he set up the gallery.

As his business grew, he says, small boys showed interest in what he was doing and he allowed them to be part of it.

“They would visit my shop and watch what I was doing and I soon realised that some had talent in art, so I decided to help them nurture their talents,” he said.

Uwezo Art Gallery, says Kyenze, now aims at giving slum dwellers the much-needed jolt and nurture their children as they grow up.

Children aged between six and 18 spend most of their free time painting and drawing at the shop.

“ A child can make up to Sh10,000 a  month if they dedicate enough time to the creative work.” he said.

Each of the children who do the art has an account where  their money is saved.

“Once they are through with primary school education, they want to join secondary school, but most would lack fees. The money I save for them takes care of this,” he said.

The business is not only nurturing  the children’s talent  but also moulding them to be reliable and responsible in the future.

The skill has helped many children, whose parents could not afford school fees, to join secondary school.

The creative work also occupies the young minds, diverting them from criminal activities.