About Us

Egna Legna Besidet was founded by migrant domestic workers in Lebanon. Our organization is composed of community-based, feminist activists working on issues that migrant women domestic workers from the third world face in the Middle East, with a particular focus on Lebanon and Ethiopia. We provide holistic solutions to the challenges that migrant domestic workers face daily through legal, housing, and food assistance, shelter and medical referrals, skills training, as well as repatriation and reintegration services. We also advocate for the rights of migrant domestic workers as women, laborers, and dignified members of society.


We seek equity, empowerment, and justice for both former and current women migrant domestic workers in Lebanon and across the Middle East. By supporting MDWs in need and empowering the women and girls of our communities, we contribute to building an empowered grassroots movement towards the abolition of the kafala system. By raising awareness and ensuring that more and more uplifted women are aware of their rights.


An inclusive society free of abuse and exploitation, where the agency and rights of migrant domestic workers are fully respected, fulfilled, and upheld.


Engna Legna Banchyi
Banchi Yimer
Engna Legna Tsigereda
Tsigereda Brihanu
Projects Director
Engna Legna Messi
Genet Lema
Activities Coordinator
Engna Legna Mekdes
Mekdes Ylma
Director of Finance


Who is being discriminated against?

All women migrant domestic workers in Lebanon, as well as returnee migrants from the Middle East in Ethiopia

What right is being violated?

Labor - forced confinement - health - liberty and security of person (rape-forced abortion) - - access to justice freedom of movement (trafficking).

How is the discrimination taking place?

Kafala system that privileges the sponsor - lack of accountability, justice and protection for MDW vs. sponsors, agencies, insurance agencies (profiteers) - guilty until proven innocent; no due process - exclusion from labor law. More populous, underage girls, language barriers, low education => added discrimination

What change do you desire to see?

Lebanon: Abolish kafala - fair, protective system free of impunity - laws to protect MDW.

Ethiopia: Child trafficking stopped - awareness/ transparency, enforcement of laws targeting human traffickers and abusers.

How would your community be different?

No deaths by suicide, murders or injuries. Access to justice, safer work environment for women, agency (no sponsor control in all aspects of stay in Lebanon), freedom of movement, empowered MDW, free of harassment and gender based/ racial violence/ stigmatization of Middle East based MDWs.

Ethiopia: Financial independence; mechanisms for financial management and social security of returnees. No discrimination or manipulation of earnings by male family members.

What would be different about the relationships between people?

Employer-employee relationship, no intrusion into personal life and control over non-work aspects of life; objectification/ dehumanization, salary, healthcare, freedom of movement secure.

Ethiopia: Less prejudice; more sympathy; MDWs are not just income earners; protections for workers.

What would you see, hear, feel or experience that tells you that things have changed?

Attitude and behaviours of the general public; abiding by labor laws; not taking advantage of unjust systems.

What human rights would be recognized, enjoyed, or exercised?

Labor - health - liberty and security of person (rape-forced abortion) - freedom of movement (trafficking) - access to justice - self-determination/ agency.