Nagham Abu Samra: Karate Champion

Apr 15, 2021

Nagham likes to enjoy the sea breeze along sandy beaches to escape from the worries of everyday life, relieve stress, and eliminate all negative thoughts. She feels refreshed and filled with positive energy, ready for a new day of training in the Gaza Strip where she established her first club to teach girls karate, a sport often regarded as a men-only activity in her community.  

Nagham said: “I wasn't planning to study physical education or learn karate, but I became attached to this sport that gave me strength and courage. I became convinced that it would help strengthen my personality, and this persuaded me to open the club for young girls. I wanted every girl to feel her strength from within, not from those surrounding her. I also wanted for them to be able to protect themselves and be able to make their own decisions in life.”

Nagham completed her training in the Gaza Strip despite the limited resources available. The strong support she received from her father and family enabled her to continue her journey and succeed. Her father was always there in all of her matches and championships, cheering for her. At times when she felt frustrated by people’s negative comments about her being in this sport, her father would always find the right words to keep her going and never giving up. 

Just like any girl living in a Middle Eastern society governed by beliefs and traditions that favor men over women, Nagham was constantly subjected to bullying. “I felt like an outcast in my society, but despite all the pain that I had to endure, it still gave me the strength I needed to go on and win the championship,” she said. 

Nagham dreams to represent Palestine in international competitions and establish a national women's karate club. Nagham recalled a karate event in 2019 as one of the happiest moments of her life, where she was crowned champion during a match in Palestine. 

Nagham loves the white color of her uniform, as it gives her hope that tomorrow will be brighter than yesterday.

About the Author

Ameera Harouda is a freelance journalist in Gaza. She works closely with international journalists reporting from Gaza. She has worked with many world-renowned media agencies, including Al Jazeera international TV, The Washington Post, CNN, The Guardian, TRT World, Der Spiegel, and many more. She is very passionate about giving voice to the voiceless through storytelling and photography and promoting Palestinian creative Palestinian youth.