New York, January 19, 2011—New youth leaders in Nablus now have all the skills they need to begin empowering moderates in their society thanks to a bright and tireless woman, who has been volunteering with OneVoice Palestine (OVP) for many years.
Malaka Samara, 32, holds degrees in Arabic literature and English; she has taught in schools in the West Bank as well as in Palestinian refugee camps; she has worked for OneVoice both in her own community and abroad on an IEP tour. All of that experience prepared her to take a more assertive leadership role when, on Jan. 15, OVP staff made the trip to the historically tumultuous West Bank city to conduct a training workshop for the volunteers in its newest chapter.
In Nablus, Samara faced the unenviable task of explaining the hard work that awaits OneVoice members, but her poise and enthusiasm were infectious. “The training was very constructive. It gave me so much self-confidence,” said Ola Aghbar, one of the new recruits. “Ms. Malaka gave us invaluable instruction on team-building and its importance in advocacy.”
Described by her friends in OVP as a shy, but courageous woman, Samara stepped out of her comfort zone to address a largely male audience with confidence and passion, while adhering to her conservative Islamic beliefs about modesty.
She was delighted about the chance to prove her leadership skills and pass on the extensive knowledge she has gained in her time as a volunteer. “Without my own training by OneVoice, I would never have found myself in this wonderful position and I am so flattered to be able to do something for the next generation of youth leaders,” she said.
Antwan Saca comes from the same crop of OneVoice graduates as Malaka and is now the media coordinator for OVP. He commented: “It is encouraging to see Malaka proving OneVoice’s belief that today’s recruits are tomorrow’s leaders. Since we are in the process of state-building, young people must be given the chance to contribute to that future state.”