Egna Legna Besidet

Egna Legna Besidet

We are non-religious, non-political, community-based, feminist activists working on migrant domestic workers’ issues and general women’s issues in Lebanon and Ethiopia. We seek to support women already working in Lebanon and are raising awareness in Ethiopia to stop women going to Lebanon. We are run by Ethiopian women and we seek to assist our own community in a multitude of ways. We collaborate with different NGOs and ethnic groups to achieve our purposes.

We fight against the injustices of kafala, gender-based violence and the exploitation of adolescent labour.

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OUR GOALS

Fight

To fight for justice for abused domestic workers.

Survival

To provide Ethiopian women with survival skills for living in Lebanon.

Leadership

To promote women in leadership

Educate

To educate young women in Ethiopia of the dangers of traveling to Lebanon in order to dissuade them from coming.

Work Skills

To provide women with work skills that will enable them to be self-supporting on return home so that less leave to work in the Middle East again.

Break Taboos

To break cultural taboos and create a safe space so that women are comfortable to talk about personal issues.

Family

To create a safe space by organizing cultural events, celebrating feast days, and to create a sense of family abroad.

Rights

To educate women about their rights as women and domestic workers.

Solidarity

To build solidarity and share resources among activist community groups.

OUR PROJECTS

Soap Project

Soap Making Classes

We designed and are running soap-making classes for domestic workers in Lebanon which run for 6 months.

Accessory Design Classes

We designed and are running accessory-making classes for domestic workers in Lebanon which run for 6 months.

Making Accessories
Workshops

Workshops

We design and implement workshops on financial management; sexual harassment; social media; bullying; workplace safety; racism; sexual reproduction health, habits, STDs, childbearing, and safe abortion (with help from ‘A Project’); MDW rights; how to protect ourselves when helping victims of abuse and procedures for working on cases. These workshops are based on our personal daily experiences and knowledge of what the issues and concerns faced by domestic workers are.

Brochures

We have created a brochure in Amharic which includes a bus map and info on how to ‘share location’ and we are planning to translate these into other Ethiopian languages so that women working in villages can get help more easily and travel safely to Beirut.

Financial Assistance

We have financially assisted a few sick and/or abused Ethiopian women to return home and have continued to support some of them once home.

Educational Videos

We have made a series of 6 educational videos in Amharic which address the problems and issues which are of concern to us e.g. MDW rights, racism, financial management, and social media bullying.

Shelter

Shelter

From 2017 to 2019 we provided shelter for more than 25 women who had been homeless and were running from abusive employers. We covered the costs of their food, clothing, phone calls, rent, transport, medical assistance and helped them find jobs. Some are now home and some are still working in Lebanon contributing to the financial assistance and counseling of other victims. We also donated clothes and sanitary products to domestic workers in shelters and hospitals.

Legal Assistance

We work with a lawyer in Lebanon and in Ethiopia to pursue justice in cases where there was physical and/or sexual abuse and/or false accusation of theft, and to bring cases against traffickers. This is something we intend to pursue more. When legal advice is needed we refer women to a lawyer.

Legal Assistance
Solidarity

Creating Solidarity

We hold events to create a sense of solidarity and community by creating safe spaces for the celebration of feast days. On those days we visit hospitals and shelters and take them our national foods and celebrate with them.

Demonstrations

We participate in demonstrations and protests requesting rights for domestic workers and help in the organisation of such events. Anytime Lebanese protest the kafala system and call for its abolition, we are there in solidarity.

Demonstrations
Raising Awareness

Raising Awareness

We raise awareness amongst Lebanese people in schools and universities and at different events of the sufferings of domestic workers under the kafala system.

Engna Legna Banchyi
Banchi Yimer

Founder

Engna Legna Tsigereda
Tsigereda Brihanu

Projects Manager

Engna Legna Messi
Genet Lema

Activities Coordinator

Engna Legna Mekdes
Mekdes Ylma

Directory of Finance

Meet the Team

Ethiopian, women, domestic workers, activists.

  • Work Hard
  • Play Hard
  • Make the Most of the Worst
  • We Can Do It Together

What Others Say

EgnaLegna

“We do not want other women to suffer through what we have experienced”

Rootslab Logo

Rootslab Lebanon

Gender Inequality NGO

Ethiopian migrant workers craft their way out of the Lebanese ‘Kafala’ System

Steffen Neupert

Steffen Neupert

Journalist

Embodied Storytelling

“Embodying the political as personal and the motion in the local/global feminist movements they are part of.”

Global Fund For Women

Global Fund for Women

Intl Network for Women

Our Partners

These are the people that make our work possible.

We can’t do it alone, so we partner with others and work harder together.

Anti-Racism Movement
Feminist Network
الشبكة النسوية
The Knowledge Workshop
KAFA

The A Project

مشروع الألف

Rootslab
The Legal Agenda
Oxfam