Migrant Domestic Workers

Migrant domestic workers in Lebanon increase skills capacity and support social dialogue

Migrant domestic workers and the ILO launch a catering line and an educational board game to increase cultural integration, enhance skills capacity and support social dialogue in Lebanon.

News | 25 May 2014
BEIRUT (ILO News) - A cultural event organised by the ILO PROWD project (Promoting Rights of Women Migrant Domestic Workers in Lebanon) was held on Saturday (May 24) to deepen understanding of migrant domestic workers’ roles in Lebanon and increase their income generating capacity. The event was comprised of two initiatives: The launch of a catering line in collaboration with Souk El Tayeb, a weekly farmers’ market, and a rights-based educational board game aimed at increasing appreciation of rich traditions and cultures as well as understanding migrant domestic worker rights and roles in Lebanon.

Entitled Atayeb Chighel El Beit (Arabic for Tastiest Home Cooking), the catering line was made, served and marketed by professionally trained migrant domestic workers in order to empower them to develop their professional skills as well as provide them with income generating capacity when they return to their countries of origin. The Souk El Tayeb team trained a total of 20 domestic workers to create the menu of Atayeb Chighel el Beit.

“These women from different countries and continents have become family to us, and to each other. In the span of a mere six days, they produced 26 full, delicious dishes, while being trained in the best cooking techniques and hygiene standards,” said Jihane Chahle, Quality Assurance Manager at Souk El Tayeb.

A percentage of the profits from Atayeb Chighel el Beit will go towards supporting the founding committee of the Domestic Workers’ Committee (DWC) at the National Federation of Employees and Workers in Lebanon (FENASOL), a platform to promote decent work for domestic workers.

“Now I am glad that I have secured an income-generating and self-sustained catering line when I go back home,” said Eugenie from Benin.

An interactive educational show also took place at the same time next to an open-air souk in Beirut. The show was aimed at introducing children to the cultures of the mother countries of migrant domestic workers. During the show, the ILO launched Bladi Bladek, a rights-based educational board game targeting children in order to bolster their understanding of migrant domestic worker rights and roles in the Lebanese society. Karim Dahdah created the game as an awareness tool by the PROWD project to school disseminated to the public.
Children were asked several questions covering geography, history, culture and rights of workers coming to Lebanon form Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal and Madagascar.

“These cultural initiatives go a long way in building cultural bridges that link understanding of migrant domestic workers’ roles in Lebanon with their right to enjoy decent work,” said Nada Al Nashif, Regional Director of ILO. “Furthermore, this event is a unique example of how we can enhance our appreciation of the contribution of migrant domestic work, while also increasing the skills and capacities of the workers nowadays.”