Malaa has emerged as lifeline for many migrant workers in Lebanon.
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After 33 years, Malaa Kandaarachchge is more at home in Lebanon than where she was born. More than simply living in the country, she has fought for and championed workers' rights by becoming a powerful voice in defense of the migrant community. Now a 62-year-old guest worker from Sri Lanka, Malaa first left her homeland in search of a better life. Initially having signed a contract, she believed she was going to work in Cyprus. However, her life took an unexpected turn after she landed on the island with her friend Chandra. For five years, Malaa couldn't deliver any news to her family, despite countless attempts.After locating employment with another family in Baabda – a district in Mount Lebanon – Malaa said that she began to identify with Lebanon as if it was her own country. Her new family looked after her as much as she looked after them, especially during the most trying periods of the conflict. Although Lebanon still lags behind when it comes to protecting migrant workers, strides have been made thanks to the efforts of people like Malaa.Though trapped in Lebanon during its darkest times, she has helped make the country better in the best way she can.
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