Modern day slavery affects people of all genders, but there is no escaping the fact that females are disproportionately affected with almost 3/4’s of those subjected to modern day slavery being women and girls. In Lebanon almost all Migrant Domestic Workers are female which is where our story began. We are a female-lead initiative of former Migrant Domestic Workers that have all been subjected to the Kafala System in Lebanon.
We have all experienced abuse in many forms, racism and been enslaved by the Kafala System which is why we established DoWAN. We were convicted by our struggle to turn it into action, we want collective change to prevent women becoming enslaved in domestic servitude and to empower women in our communities to be able sustain their livelihoods and their communities so that they too do not fall subject to human trafficking.
DoWAN are committed to protecting and advocating for the rights and dignity of women and girls without discrimination, who are survivors of modern-day slavery namely the kafala system in Lebanon. Since our establishment earlier this year DoWAN have registered approx. 200+ Former Domestic Workers repatriated from Lebanon to Sierra Leone.
As a female lead initiative, we are committed to empowering women especially former migrant workers to ensure our rights are respected, protected and secured. We are campaigning and mobilising up and down the country in our communities, schools, on local radio stations and local community spaces raising awareness. With our female led project we want to create solidarity framework among our communities through a sustainability project “Multiplying Seed’s” to prevent hunger in our communities.
Rights for workers’ rights & particularly women’s rights are fought on many fronts. For us, it is on the streets & community organising. We are entitled to know our rights & have them fulfilled; this is why we will continue to fight against Kafala & Human Trafficking.
Seeds for Solidarity
Seeds for Solidarity will be an reintegration project for women under the Kafala system who have been repatriated back to Sierra Leone from Lebanon. The main aim is to empower former workers who were subject to modern day slavery in Lebanon and to rebuild their confidence and the community to show them that there are other options and that our tragedies will not deter us. In turn we will empower and equip women with tools to take action to help sustain a better future for women and girls our communities and to prevent domestic servitude.
Gardening is a great tool to bring women together to demonstrate the sustainability of our land and to demonstrate our knowledge to other women and girls in our communities. DoWAN believe that through involvement in Seeds for Solidarity we can learn so much from each other, share our collective traumas, break down barriers and stereotypes of a woman’s role in our society.
Community & Solidarity
Seeds for Solidarity will be as much as growing community and solidarity as it is about growing food and flowers. As we develop and listen to women’s ideas, we will try new things to add to our model. The gardens will provide a space where we can grow, cook and eat together whilst also providing food for our communities and enriching the local area. In the future we hope to involve more women in our communities who are isolated, subjected to gender base violence and are suffering with mental or physical health issues. As a collective of former domestic workers, we want to build community food resilience.
We will provide workshops and trainings on gardening and sustainability to equip women with the skills to manage and lead their gardens. We will also take the opportunity to invite women in the communities to workshops and use our platform to educate on the dangers of the Kafala System and human trafficking. Through these community educational workshops, we will demonstrate that there are alternatives through sustainability projects.
Advocacy & Campaigns
As DoWAN we will continue to advocate and campaign for Migrant Domestic Workers. Through our initiative we will continue to advocate for the following:
– The inclusion of Domestic Workers in labour law.
– Raising awareness of the Kafala System and advocate for its abolishment.
– Recognise domestic work as work.
– Prevent human trafficking and domestic servitude.
– Improve the conditions for returnee migrant workers
– Multiple seeds to prevent hunger.
We will shift the position of former migrant domestic workers from victims to agents of social change in Sierra Leone. Not only will our project create sustainability it will raise awareness of the dangers of the Kafala system amongst our communities. Seeds for Solidarity will eventually become self-sustainable by equipping women in our communities to lead and sustain the gardens.