Like many migrant domestic workers before them, women from Sierra Leone have been trapped in Lebanon, stranded, unemployed, and unable to return home.
Their situation was made worse now as Lebanon goes through an economic collapse.
Left stranded in the streets, it wasn’t long before 28-year-old Lucie met other Sierra Leonean women like her. They were living together in a small apartment, and she joined.
They had begged their consulate in Beirut to help them return home to no avail. But who would have thought that through music, over 100 women would be able to go back home?
Thinking about her children who she might never see again, Lucie found solace in singing. She wrote a powerful song “Bye and Bye” that shed light on the dark side of the kafala system.
With the help of a French photojournalist Aline Deschamps, she and over a two dozen other women in her position recorded it and turned it into a music video calling on the UN for help.
They were also able to raise money in donations partially to help pay for living expenses in Beirut, and also to contribute to the Lebanese NGO Anti-Racism Movement, which is helping Sierra Leonean women go back home.
Before she knew it, Lucie had gained an integral role in the repatriation of the women, speaking out about the inhumane kafala system in Lebanon.
Soon, the Consulate for Sierra Leone in Beirut began working towards their repatriation. So far, 130 women will go back home by the end of October – and that’s just the beginning.