Technical University of Mombasa students are diversifying into innovative ways to generate income while pursuing their education at Lamu campus.

The six students undertaking Bachelors in Business Administration and Diploma in Procurement and Material Management have acquired skills in henna painting from a professional henna expert Bai Abubakar Mohammed, a household name in Lamu County. In an exclusive interview during Lamu Cultural festival, Ms Mohammed noted that the skills that she has transferred on henna painting to the girls have been helpful to support them to earn during different events hosted within the county.

Ms Mohammed explained that she introduced the girls after realizing that it is an occupation to engage them to avoid drugs and immorality. “From my experience, the income is good. I earn much of my income during the Lamu Cultural festival and holidays,” she said. During the four days Lamu festive held between 22nd to 25th November, 2018, Ms Mohammed disclosed that her busiest months are April, August and December holidays.

“On a good day, I earn Ksh 5, 000 but this depends on the number of customers that I paint,” she added. From the henna skills, the mother of three said she has invested in property and uses her income to educate her two school going children in class one and pre-primary at Swafaa Academy in Lamu island. The three time Lamu cultural festival henna award winner in 2005 to 2007, teaches certificate course in henna painting at Lamu Youth Polytechnic, a sister institution to TUM Lamu Campus.

Zulfa Musa, a second year student at Lamu Campus said she is keen on these skills since for the period she learned she is able to earn during her free time compared to the days that she had no skills. Her colleague, Mulhad Rashid, who has master facial paintings said she targets wedding ceremonies. “During a session with a client, I can make between Ksh 300- 400,”she said.

Lamu cultural festival is an annual event that showcases the colourful traditions and culture of the Lamu community. The event features Swahili poetry, Henna painting, Bao competition, dhow competition, donkey race, traditional dances and displays that include traditional handcrafts, Swahili bridal ceremony and Swahili food baazar.

This year’s occasion was graced with celebrated Tanzanian singers among them, Taarab artist Leila Rashid and Kheri Sameer Rajabu (Mr. Blue)