Sheldone appealed to talented children to embrace education, be humble, respect their parents and the elders to guarantee a prosperous future.
Nine-year-old Sheila Sheldone Charles, a famous young Kenyan painter, had a rare treat when she was hosted by President Yoweri Museveni during the Easter weekend.
Sheldone spent time with the President at his country home in Rwakitura in Kiruhura district, accompanied by her mother, Vivian Adhiambo.
The young visual artist, whose works have attracted the attention of many Kenyans and attracted her global recognition, started art work at the age of six. She was invited to Uganda by President Museveni, after he was impressed by her art work during his recent visit to Kenya.
As he stepped out of Nyali Golf View Residence in Mombasa to prepare for a meeting with his host President Uhuru Kenyatta, Museveni was received by a young girl carrying a rare gift.
Sheldone handed President Museveni a painting of himself, which the head of state spent a few minutes examining with admiration and resulting in a hearty conversation with the young artist.
Asked if she had any special request to make, she replied: “Your Excellency, I request that you host me in Uganda at your State House.
I want to travel around Uganda and look at what I am told is a very beautiful country.” The rest is history. Over the Easter weekend, Sheldone and her mother spent time with the President, fulfilling one of her biggest wishes.
“My muzukulu from Mombasa, Sheila Sheldone Charles, visited me in Rwakitura with her mother as we agreed she would, when I met her during my recent state visit to Kenya,” the President twitted.
“Talent of whatever form should be nurtured alongside formal education. I thank her for the gifts she brought me,” he added.
The President said when the mother revealed that the young artist was born at 8:00pm, the president gave her the Luo name “Atieno” During the Rwakitura visit, the youngster presented to Museveni two paintings — one of a lion and another portrait of himself and the First Lady Mrs. Janet Museveni.
The President thanked his counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta, for supporting her education since her parents were unable to provide due to some hardships.
“I am glad that she is attending school and at the same time nurturing her talent. It’s the right direction,” the President told her mother, a prison warden in Kenya.
According to State House sources, Museveni pledged to build a modest residential house for the family to provide a better environment for the youngster to nurture her talent.
Sheldone says she plans to build an art centre in future. She appealed to talented children to embrace education, be humble, respect their parents and the elders to guarantee a prosperous future.
“I have heard of a Ugandan talented musician called Fresh Kid. I would like to advise him to be humble, stay in school and grow his talent with humility and the sky is the limit,” she said.
Sheldone was asked to produce a painting of Museveni, which she pulled off in one day. “I had to work through the night, sketching first before painting.
Altogether, it took me 18 hours to finish this,” she said of the gruelling task which said described as one of her best pieces.
Sheldone is no longer the street girl who sits around the corner to raise money to feed her family. She is an artist, model and designer.
“If you have a talent, just work on it. Keep practising, you will become perfect,” she advised fellow children.
She advises parents and adults against forcing their children to learn what they are not passionate about, but instead to support them to grow their talents.
Her mother, Adhiambo, encouraged parents of talented children to be very protective of them and guard them against exploitation and abuse.
She said parents should, look beyond money when nurturing young talents and ensure that they guide them to live a life that is good today and hold a lot for the future.