In June, two of our interns, Haya Selah (Palestine Justice Organizer) and Hadil Alhayek (Organizing Fellow), connected with Spark Innovation training program in Gaza, Palestine, to train youth in Kingian Nonviolence. The program utilized On Earth Peace’s Agape-Satyagraha training in conflict resolution based on Martin Luther King’s teachings. During the two-month program, Haya and Hadil taught 23 participants ages 14 to 18 how to resolve issues in their local community nonviolently. The teenagers not only engaged in critical conversations on topics such as racism and gender equity, but they also received public speaking training and gained confidence in their own leadership abilities.
The participants were respectful of others' opinions, eager to exchange ideas, and showed support when others showed their hardships. Agape Satyagraha Training impacted not only the youth but also our interns. Selah recalls on the experience by saying:
“ I think we created a beautiful community that allowed the kids to talk about anything, and thus created a supportive environment, especially for young women who share the same fears, worries, and trauma when it comes to bullying, patriarchy, sexism in education, and many issues that are relevant to them as young women. …I was very happy with the supportive, loving community they built that believed and supported all women…. we can expect so much from this generation, so much awareness, action, and support. And I look forward to seeing them creating the change they want to see."
After the program, the youth are now preparing long-term engagement projects to address topics of concern. Some of the young girls have started a campaign designed to provide sexual assault survivors with mental health resources to help them heal. In addition to their campaign, they will provide social media education to protect fellow young women from cyber harassment/assault.