Meet Wanja: Learn How Her Simple Artistic Idea Won 100 Grand. - Page 2

WAI: Does your family support your artistic work?

Wanja: Yes, yes in fact my parents are my number one fans. They support me 100%. If I need anything to do with art they always help me. 

WAI: So, how did you know about the BLAZE Summit in Eldoret?

Wanja: It was through my friend. In fact we were out on a school trip when my friend text me about the competition. I remember all the people who knew that I'm an artist, encouraged me to go and audition for the competition. I am very grateful to them for doing that.

WAI: What exactly did the competition entail?

Wanja: You just needed to have an idea, a business idea that can generate money and that can actually solve a problem in the society.

WAI: Congratulations on winning the BLAZE award, please share a little with us on what your idea entailed?
Wanja: Thank you Wendi. The idea I pitched was about Healing life organization. An organization that intends to use Art therapy-which is a form of therapy that uses the creative process of making art, to improve a person's physical, mental and emotional well-being. 

It focusses on individuals with mental issues, those in rehabilitation centers, those with suicidal thoughts, depression, stress and frustration as well as young children to help them express themselves artistically, resolve issues as well as develop and manage their behaviors and feelings, ultimately reducing stress and improving their self-esteem and self awareness. 

All these lead to promotion of personal development, increases coping skills and boosts the cognitive function. One does not need to be an artist to experience this. With the help of an Art Therapist, one will definitely feel comfortable. We'll do all these to bring healing to peoples' lives. A peaceful mind equals a happy life

WAI: What inspired the idea?

Wanja: You know personally, after creating some drawings for some time. I had experienced much improvement in how I manage my behaviors and my feelings. My self esteem and my self awareness improved. I was able to deal with some issues in my life. So it pushed me to wanting to share it with people. I want people to experience what I experienced. I want people to manage their feelings and stress through art.

WAI: Did you expect to win the award when you went for the BLAZE Summit?

Wanja: The competition was stiff, because everyone in the creative arts pod presented. You know we have people with great ideas. And I thought they were just as good as mine. They were too good eh! I didn't see it coming. 

WAI: Are you also getting a mentor to assist you with the idea?

Wanja: Yes, yes. The mentor who was actually talking to us in the pod is mentoring me for that. His name is Brian Wanyama the guy behind matwana culture.

WAI: What would you say to encourage a young artist who knows they can draw, write or sing well but they are hesitant?

Wanja: The first thing I'd say they put God first. God above everything. Then they need to believe in their dreams and put in the effort. They should avoid getting scared, fear kills the dreams.

I'd like to mention someone who has really helped me a lot. In fact he's been around all the time. He's called Daniel Juma. He's the executive director of Global Peace Foundation. He's been mentoring me since 2015. He has been with me since the day I decided to embrace art. So I owe it up to him, my parents, it's a team that has really pushed me to where I am now.

WAI: How did you meet your mentor, Juma?

Wanja: We met at USIU-A (United States International University-Africa) at an entrepreneurship conference ASENTI (African Summit on Entrepreneurship and Innovation). I happened to present a portrait to one of the speakers Manu Chandaria then Daniel approached me because of that . He became a friend and a mentor.

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