Interview with Ruth Tebah – Creative Arts Coordinator for SODEI’s LESPLAY Project

SODEI’s Comms Associate Tataw Ayuk Emilie, caught up with Ruth at her desk at the Limbe Middle Farms Office and Community Centre location, to find out more about her passion for creative arts and her work with children and young people.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Tebah Ruth Enjoh but to my family and friends, I am Raël. I am 19 years old and I obtained my Advanced Level GCE certificate last year. I was the Art president and social personnel of the student administration of Government High School Limbe, where I studied the S3 (Biology, Chemistry & Mathematics) series in science. I live in Limbe, a city in the Southwest region of Cameroon.

You are the Creative Arts Coordinator for SODEI, how did you learn about the organisation?

My aunt told me about an art seminar that she wanted me to attend in November so I was really excited about it because she said I will learn a lot from there. One day towards the end of October 2019, she came to my house and said dress up and let’s go we are meeting those people today so I dressed up and we then left. But when I arrived, I saw it was not a seminar but a meeting for the preparation of the LESPLAY project. From that moment, I became a part of SODEI. I was happy because I saw an opportunity to be useful, to exercise and better my artistic skills. I was really looking forward to be part of SODEI and God answered my prayers when I was given the opportunity to handle the creative art department of LESPLAY a SODEI project.

What impresses you the most about the organisation?

What I like about SODEI is that they give everybody a chance to improve and they help people out by inspiring them in every way they can, not to give up.

How did you discover your artistic skills?

When I was 7years old the teacher would often give us drawing assignments to do at home. So when she first gave the assignment which was to draw a car and name its parts, we were to use the weekend for that so I did not really believe I could do it until when I finally took the courage to draw so I will not be punished then I realized that I could actually draw so when I came to class the teacher congratulated me. From then on for the other assignments she gave she would use my drawing to explain things in class and other students would ask me many times to draw for them.

Arts seems to be a passion for you, what is the story behind your love for arts?

Well growing up for me was quite stressful because of some issues at home, so art was like a “Pain Killer” for me i.e. when I am hurt or angry, I will always draw to feel at ease or to calm down. So, then art became a part of me. Though many times my dad would beat me or shout at me for doing “NONSENSE” as he calls it did not stop me because I love arts a lot and it is who I am until now.

What are your dreams for the future?

Well I have 3 professions that I have been desiring in my heart and I must accomplish these desires by working as hard as I can. I want to be a Nutritionist, a renowned Fashion Designer and a well-known Artist everywhere.

What impact do you aim to create with your artistic talents?

I will make sure to reach out to as many children and young people as possible with a passion for arts so I can encourage and guide them so they don’t give up on their dreams or throw away their talents.

How is your relationship with SODEI and what do you intend to achieve working together?

I am the Creative Arts coordinator for SODEI and I believe that SODEI is the platform that will help me reach out to children and young people with love or passion for creative arts. So, I believe my working with SODEI is going to create impact in the lives of these people.

We are currently observing the 16 Days of Activism on violence against women (VAW), what do you make of this occasion? What is your take on the prevalence of VAW in society? How do you plan to use your work to combat VAW?

I think it is wonderful that we have not just one day as is the case with other international events, but 16 Days of Activism on VAW. I am very happy to discover the importance given to the fight against VAW. I also believe it is our duty to spread the message even further to the grassroots, to those spaces where VAW is even more prevalent and yet with limited awareness.

Well I plan by showing my expression and how I feel about VAW through creative arts and make people understand the pain and suffering women and girls go through. Arts is one of the best ways to communicate some of the things we have difficulties explaining, traumatic experiences for example.

So, with this in mind, since SODEI is currently observing the 16days activism, during my next session, I plan teaching the children about VAW and then letting them to express their own views about it through drawing and sketching, and this will be complied and documented into narratives of VAW.

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