A Sri Lankan artist is helping cancer patients regain their joy and confidence with ’empowering’ henna crowns— and free of charge.
When Nazma picked up her very own Henna cone for the first time at the tender age of thirteen, she had no idea her art would later bring tearful joy to chemotherapy patients.
Nazma Mazhar is a professional henna artist and content creator who came to Qatar in 2017 when she was just 23 years old to start a new life with her husband. Her decision to move was inspired by a dream to make a change worldwide — the young artist was keen on using her potential for something that would serve a purpose.
Initially, that was being a teacher, but life had other plans for the Sri Lankan.
“I was seeking a teaching job, but couldn’t find one anywhere. So to financially support myself, I decided to make henna art my professional career and be a freelance henna artist,” Nazma told Doha News.
She started growing her social media page and expanding her business, showcasing her beautiful artistic designs on Instagram and Facebook to attract clients.
Luckily for Nazma, henna has always been popular in the Gulf country, especially for brides and cultural gatherings. Art has been associated with happiness and good luck, and has gained even more popularity globally in the last few years. With her talent and determination, it did not take Nazma long to be one of the most popular henna artists in the country.
A few months after her first client, her talent grew even bigger and began serving a more meaningful purpose – bringing joy to cancer warriors.
“Back in 2017, I lost my auntie and many of my cousins due to cancer. This loss greatly affected me, so I decided to try and make those battling the disease happy and give them a self-confidence boost,” Nazma explained, noting this was the start of her work with survivors.
Soon after, Nazma began offering free’ henna crowns’ for cancer patients to help put a smile on their faces. Shortly after she posted the offer online, hundreds of people rushed to show support for her initiative, tagging their friends, sharing the posts, and even messaging her to book.
“I will never forget my first client. Her name was Michelle and she was going through stage four cancer,” Nazma narrated emotionally, taking several moments to wipe her tears.
“She was my friend, and once I did the henna crown on her, she had the biggest smile on her face. She started dancing and jumping from happiness and her six-year-old daughter was so happy because her mother got henna crown and taking selfies.”
“It was an unforgettable moment in my henna crown moment. Unforgettable,” Nazma said.The henna artist explained that she continued to paint henna for her cancer survivor clients because all she wanted in life was to see them happy and shining. Seeing them with a renewed sense of confidence was enough for her.
“This…what I do now makes me believe that this is why I am here in this world. It added value to myself. I thought ‘okay I have done a good job now,” she passionately said .
“Money can’t get you that kind of happiness anywhere.”
Nazma goes to the clients’ house every time she gets a henna crown request to ensure they are comfortable and avoid putting them through any unnecessary struggle during transportation. The clients can choose their preferred design and henna type beforehand and Nazma prepares everything ahead of the appointment.
Usually, it takes from one to two hours to finish the look, she added, but it is all worth it the moment her clients get a glimpse of the crown in the mirror.
“Because they lost their hair and then their confidence, once they get henna crowns down, they think they are queens,” she added. “I want to always give that kind of happiness to them, to see them smile.”
Now, Nazma wants to expand her business and have the opportunity to do more henna crowns for patients. She wants the younger generation to always strive to be kinder, more compassionate and always follow their dreams and purpose in life.
“Do good and good will always come to you. These are the words that I stand by no matter what,” she said.