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Two volunteer interpreters from Greater DC and Baltimore will be recognized for their selfless service

Zaina Konbaz and Silvia Moore have been named Volunteer Service Award recipients by Tahirih Justice Center, a national non-profit that protects immigrant women and girls who refuse to be victims of gender-based violence through free legal and social services, public policy advocacy, and training and education.

The volunteers have donated countless hours of interpretation and translation services to help women and girls fleeing gender-based human rights abuses, including rape, female genital mutilation, domestic violence, human trafficking, honor crimes, and forced marriage. Their high-quality services are vital to Tahirih clients and staff alike, ensuring consistent and accurate communications between them so that language barriers are not an obstacle.

In 2014 alone, Tahirih provided approximately 600 women and girls in the Greater DC and Baltimore areas with free legal and social services so that they could rebuild their lives in the wake of violence. Nationally, the non-profit empowered more than 900 women and girls to achieve the legal status they were entitled to under U.S. law in 2014.

“Ms. Konbaz and Ms. Moore have gone above and beyond to support the courageous immigrant women and girls Tahirih serves, often translating documents and interpreting meetings on very short notice,” said Heather L. Taylor, Tahirih Greater DC Director. “Moreover, the emotional support they have provided to our clients has been invaluable.”

The volunteers will be honored at Tahirih’s 18th Annual Gala, “Saving Lives, Celebrating Courage,” on Tuesday, April 14 at Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC.

Greater DC Volunteer Service Award

Zaina Konbaz

Zaina Konbaz holds a master’s degree in political science from George Mason University, and a bachelor’s degree in English/Arabic translation. She is currently a research intern at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy in Washington D.C. where she focuses on minority and women’s rights in the Middle East. She is inspired by Tahirih saying, the multi-dimensional approach in Tahirih Justice Center’s protection of immigrant women and girls “ensures that these courageous women are well-taken care of in their transition to a new, safe, and healthy environment, whereby they can thrive and live happily. Tahirih Justice Center’s team is truly one of the most hardworking and dedicated groups of individuals I’ve ever met, and they do it all for a great, humanitarian cause!”

Ms. Konbaz has dedicated over two years of generous volunteering to provide Arabic interpretation and document translation. Tahirih is grateful for her service and willingness to lend her valuable skills, and it is proud to recognize her with this award.

Maryland Volunteer Service Award

Silvia Moore

Silvia Moore speaks French, English, and her native language Spanish. She has taught at all levels from kindergarten to the university, all around the world. Most recently, she was a lecturer at Towson University in Maryland. After retiring, she started her volunteer work within the immigrant community at Adelante Familia, Bayview Hospital, and Tahirih Baltimore. She has used her Spanish and French to help immigrants deal with visa, asylum, and domestic violence issues.She is inspired by Tahirih, “Hearing the horrendous ways that some immigrant women have been treated, I feel compelled to help in any way I can. Tahirih has given me opportunities to do so. Tahirih has shown me that they care and want to fight for the betterment of these women, so I decided, from the time I met people at Tahirih, that I could help using my language skills.”

Tahirih is honored to recognize Ms. Moore with this award for her tireless efforts to interpret for declaration draft sessions, trial preparation, document translation, and to provide emotional support to clients.

PRESS CONTACT: Marlena Hartz, Communications Manager, 571-282-6193, [email protected]