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Visual artist empowers academically-challenged children



VISUAL artist Mercy Nhauranwa (34) says she has resumed her Strokes of Hope project meant to equip children who have learning difficulties with arts skills in rural communities.

Nhauranwa assists children aged five to 16 and is now resuming her project after having taken a break following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March last year.

Speaking to NewsDay Life & Style, Nhauranwa said parents should identify their children’s talent and nurture them towards perfecting it, instead of imposing careers on them.

“If the parents notice that their child has learning disabilities, it is good to find things they are good at. After all, it is about the children. Parents need to invest in what their child is really good at and slowly build them towards that,” she said.

“Some parents have a tendency of wanting a perfect future for their children to be a doctor, a nurse and all of that, but forgetting that a child can be a good artist or content creator. Parents should come back to a place where they take time to invest in the gifts that their children have.”

Nhauranwa said she started working with rural communities after realising that their curriculum was very limited and did not include the arts.

“I need to use everything I know and be able to impact a child somewhere. Growing up, I was a slow learner, so being able to grasp concepts was a nightmare, but art gave me confidence, which is what I want to contribute to the disadvantaged children,” she said.

“It is not always that a child has to be talented academically, but about their talent. I am also grateful that well-wishers have reached out with contribution to proceed with the project, showing that the hard work is not in vain.”

Nhauranwa said the creative sector could be an option in terms of enhancing careers.

“The response in the rural areas has been amazing as parents testified to seeing changes and growth in their children as they are excited to learn. I feel art is something that instils confidence in a child,” she said.

The visual artist expects to showcase the results of the project through an exhibition.

“Though we are in the process of resuming, the idea is to say after a certain period of doing these sessions with the children, do an exhibition with them involving different communities with what they would have grasped during the learning period. If possible, auction their artwork,” she said.

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