Interviewed by: Rachel Bulley
ReTurn wants to highlight how women in Ghana are using their love for art and creativity to revive their communities, make themselves financially independent, and discuss what challenges they have faced along the way. In this interview we sat down with the founder of the Quinsera Confidence Campaign Initiative, Akuvi Adjabs.
Do you consider yourself a creative person ? If yes, In your own words, what makes you one?
"I would consider myself a creative person because I love to immerse myself in creative arts projects and everything centered on creativity development. I founded Quinsera Confidence Campaign Initiative purposely to empower young girls in underprivileged communities identify and nurture their creative interests and potentials so they can build self-confidence and self-esteem and equally possess the power to make life informed decisions like Sexual Reproductive Health and Career Decisions that will affect their lives. It’s fulfilling to see young girls express themselves through different forms of arts."
How have you developed your creativity?
"To me, I think the whole process of creativity development is endless. I wouldn’t say “I have arrived” or I have fully developed my creative interest. I believe I am still learning, nurturing, developing and growing. Every day, I spend time talking to people I believe know me better than myself, I try as much as possible to clear every doubt on my mind, I am curious about a lot of things so I leave no stone upturned but most importantly, every progress I made at every stage, I clap for my damn self and probably buy myself a pair of shoes after which the process continues."
How do you seek out opportunities to showcase or sell what you create?
"I believe the Quinsera Confidence Campaign Initiative has been a Launchpad to making numerous goals attainable. The campaign experiences have been invaluable because I get the opportunity to network with people and organizations and build long lasting relationships. There are a lot of underground works going on to increase reach of Quinsera Confidence Campaign and we can only be grateful to God for opportunities and continue praying for open doors."
What challenges have you had since you began?
"The Quinsera Confidence Campaign journey puts me in a situation where i get to meet lots of people who had different mindsets towards the initiative. For some of the girls, the willingness is there but because of the misconception their parents or guardians have towards creative arts disciplines, they have advised their girls to snap out of it. While on the journey, most of the parents mentioned they are not interested in having the girls join because they believe the disciplines are for the academically weak and are more interested in seeing their girls pick up noble professions."
What measures did you take to overcome these challenges?
"At first, it was a big deal for me trying to explain over and over what the initiative is really about. But one of the things I did was to be patient and open to learning so that I can really understand their challenges while being myself so i don't have to cover on who i was. I was nimble and it became easier for me to relate to them and understand them as well. I took another unique approach by running the project jointly with parents of these girls so they can be able to build a relationship with their girls' creative potentials and interests and be part of the creativity development, so they would appreciate the relevance of helping their girls' nurture their interests. It was an eye opening for me because i believe the world is becoming a global village, you would at one point in your life get the opportunity to meet and live with different people from different backgrounds, you shouldn't always have a stuck up mindset where you think that, what you know is the best or is the right but be compassionate about the challenges of other people even when you don't support their actions."
What is your motivation for doing what you're doing?
"I believe the motivation to found Quinsera Confidence Campaign Initiative is part of what i am contributing to make a better community and the resilience to contribute to creativity development and the needs of creative learning environment and be a change maker. I believe another important factor that is driving the motivation is the quest to be a leader who is a pacesetter irrespective of the situation. If people are looking up to a leader, he or she must be doing something people normally don't have the courage to do. During the Quinsera Confidence Campaign journey, the team faced a huge financial challenge and didn't have money to transport all the team members to one of the villages although the villagers knew of our coming. Due to the bad nature of the roads, the only source of transportation available was motorbikes and they also cost a fortune. I embarked on the journey alone, and that saw me carrying all the items on my head aboard the motorbike. Thankfully, the villagers were very helpful and lent a helping hand with controlling the children while the rest of the team members were giving me the necessary moral support from home."
Do you have a role model who inspires you in your daily work?
"Dzidzedi Vorsah, an 8 year old amputee I met while on the campaign trip. I love her confidence, persistence, energy and willingness to pick up new tasks irrespective of how hard they may seem. She inspires me and the people around her. I love how she handles tasks given to her; she has been the best thing that has happened to be on this journey. I totally adore her."
What did you want to be in future when you were a child? Did you end up doing that or it changed, if it changed, what caused it?
"Growing up, I’ve always wanted to be a Lawyer. My big uncle was a Supreme Court justice and I drew so much inspiration from him. Sometimes, my dad calls me only to remind me that, I still have a law career to pursue. I guess I fell in love with something else, the interest hasn’t died yet, it is on my priority list but nowhere close to my pressing ones, I guess I would pursue it later, until then, “I’m busy” (Don’t make my dad see this though, otherwise we are all dead) *giggling*.
Years from now, how do you see yourself?
"Maybe I would be a lawyer in ten years….hahaha….Well, I cannot confidently mention the role I am going to be playing in ten years but, I can confidently say that, in ten years, I will continue exploring major aspects of the creative arts disciplines, learn and fully understand them so I can gather vast knowledge in the various fields and be in a better position to continue mentoring girls to make meaningful creative arts career decisions."
What is your advice for people who want to be like you?
"The only way you can live a meaningful life is by being yourself. Don’t be me, be you, it is ok to draw inspirations from me but never think of being me, because you would fail miserably at it. Don’t stop learning, every day presents an opportunity for learning new things, grasp the opportunity, network and connect with people who positively impact your life, don’t force relationships, the right people will come along and most importantly, be you unapologetically."