| Malay Mail | Malaysia | 22 Feb 2016 | Asia Samachar |
By John Bunyan
TAIPING — The intricate art of henna requires a steady hand and plenty of creativity, nothing Namvinsha Kaur can’t handle although she is not an ordinary 25-year-old woman.
Born with defects to both her hands and legs, Namvinsha has learned to push through obstacles to eke out an independent and full life. She faced challenges soon after she was born when her family unit collapsed.
“My mother (Harmindear Kaur, 54) told me my father left us when I was born. She raised me single-handedly and supported me all the way until I completed my studies,” she told Malay Mail at her home in Pokok Assam here.
“I did not study in any special school but was enrolled at SK Methodist Pokok Assam and later at SMK Kampung Jambu.
“Getting along with other students was slightly difficult due to my disabilities but there were some friends who took care of me. The teachers were always kind and helpful.”
After finishing secondary school, Namvinsha went on to earn her diploma in multimedia management at Multimedia College (Perak), Taiping in 2011. Little did she realise her greatest challenge would only come after she completed her tertiary education.
Like other young graduates, Namvinsha was unable to get a job matching her qualifications. She submitted numerous applications to companies in Kuala Lumpur and Perak but did not get any replies.
She managed to land a clerical job in Taiping in 2013 but was forced to leave after only a month because she was uncomfortable with conditions at work.
“For five years I was basically jobless. I was fully dependent on my mum, who was working as a supervisor in a department store,” she said. “I felt sad because I was putting a heavy burden on her since she had supported me throughout my life.”
But as she had done so many times before, the young woman decided she would not give in.
“Something changed. As an only child, I realised I had to learn how to support myself as there would be a time when she wouldn’t be around to support me,” she said. “I knew I was struggling to get a job but I took it positively and believed there would be always another way.”
Her lifelong passion for arts led her to explore the world of bridal works, where she discovered the traditional skill of henna, also known as mehndi.
“I was always passionate about bridal works and I had dabbled in henna art before this. So I decided, why not? I had nothing to lose,” she said.
Namvinsha took a nine-month course to learn about henna art, and proceeded to set up her own small business operating from her home last year.
After carrying on the business for a year, interest in her business started to grow, especially during weddings and religious festivals. While admitting that the demand for henna art was seasonal, Namvinsha said her earnings were enough to make ends meet.
“At least I am able to lessen the burden on my mother,” she said.
One of her regular customers, 26-year old Indra Manibalan, said Namvinsha had a real knack for the job, treating her customers with a mix of professionalism and friendliness.
“The charges are reasonable and she brings a lot of creativity to the art form,” Indra said. “Most henna artists only have a handful of designs but Namvinsha has more than 30 designs to off er.”
Despite the plaudits, Namvinsha has never been one to rest on her laurels, and is not planning to do so now. She still dreams of finding a job that will suit her condition and her qualifications. Namvinsha had a word of advice for graduates and the physically challenged.
“No matter what, never give up on your goals. You can improve your life even though you are physically disabled,” she said. “Everyone can be successful if they learn to motivate themselves.” (The Malay Mail, 22 Feb 2016)
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