‘Arts and crafts are an excellent way to hold the interest of young people while enabling them to explore their creative side’

These were the sentiments shared by Akili Dada Young ChangeMakers Program Director, Veronica Thamaini as we reflected on one of the themes of our Akili Dada Club Mentoring Sessions. The mentoring sessions were held at The Precious Blood Secondary School and The Moonlight School Center. The aim of these sessions was to demonstrate to dadas an alternative perspective of entrepreneurship that went beyond the world of stocks and shares, and that encompassed broader fields that remain untapped like arts and crafts.

The sessions took on an academic and practical approach that involved a presentation from a seasoned artpreneur, mini art workshops and a pitch presentation by our dadas.

Akili Dada friend and partner Vera Wambugu of Calista Creations Kenya started us off with an informative presentation that sought to open us the world of possibilities that a career in the arts could mean. She highlighted different careers and businesses paths that one can pursue. These ranged from the traditional careers such as architecture and film production to emerging careers such as photography, graphic design and culinary arts. Drawing inspiration from her own story as an artpreneur, she shared local and international success stories of individuals and groups that have found success and are thriving in the art sector.

To add a practical element to the sessions, we set up a mini art workshops that brought together our dadas and mentors with a challenge to each group to develop art pieces which they were required to ‘market’ to a panel of investors. The exercise drew its inspiration from the shark tank and created a simulated environment where our dadas had to pitch their products and convince the investors as to why their products deserve their investment. The evaluation criterion was based on the creativity, finishing and thought process as far as the end consumer of the product is concerned.

At the end of the sessions, different teams pitched their products that included handbags, hair ribbons, recycled centerpieces, notebooks and picture frames all from recycled materials.

The sessions affirmed the fact that there are a lot of opportunities in arts and craft and it is still a growing sector where young people can earn a decent living through using their skills and daring to be different.