An Artist’s Journey

While skills in the context of World Youth Skills Day usually refer to readying young adults for the workplace, which we are great believers of as evidenced by our LEI program, we can’t help but feel extra proud when we see other special capabilities our students are good at. Education and training will always be our main thrust, but we have to admit to having a soft spot for that famous saying: “there is no life without art.”

Meet Timothy, our young artist from Tanzania!

The 22-year old shares that he started dabbling with art when he was still in Primary School. Its potential for being a distraction from studying meant he wasn’t allowed to do it. So we feel extra blessed today at being given the gift of seeing his talent manifested.

“I stopped drawing in 2012, but then I met Mama Shirley of Asante Africa. She used to tell me ‘Timothy, don’t stop drawing.’ She’s the one who inspired me to keep going!”

Asking Shirley about her role in Timothy’s journey as an artist had her looking back at that final day of LEI in 2012 when she discovered a young man sitting at a desk, quietly sketching. “He explained that he had no formal training and only a regular pencil and paper to work with. Seeing his love for drawing and his potential, I decided to buy him some drawing pencils, art erasers, charcoal pens, pastels, drawing paper, and instruction books. Now he felt like a real artist! It has been exciting to see his progress, to see him develop his talent and to try new mediums.”

Today, Timothy is inspired by anything from books (he says they help to develop imagination), to natural landscapes, and talented artists. His biggest motivation for creating, though, is having an outlet that allows him to better cope with his environment. Like many of the other students, Timothy is a product of a broken home and is no stranger to dealing with family issues.

Training + Talent

He acknowledges how being part of LEI encouraged him to pursue his art. “Learning about Entrepreneurship gave me confidence that I can use my talent as a source of income.”

When asked about his plans for the future, Timothy shares his hopes of getting a scholarship at the Art College so he can hone his skills. And like a true LEI graduate, he can’t wait for the opportunity to eventually pay it forward: “I would love to teach young artists so they can use those skills to improve their art, use it to create jobs as entrepreneurs so it reduces jobless youth, and to avoid young lives being spoiled from the use of drugs and alcohol.”

He shared some of his favorite artwork with us! You can view more on his Facebook page Timz Art!

You too can be a part of our efforts & support programs that develop youth to confidently address life challenges. And what’s better, till August 31st every donation you make will be matched 1:1 by our partners Social Capital Foundation.

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