In August 2020 various clips of Kenyan women rallying and protesting outside the Kenyan consulate in Beirut in Lebanon went viral on social media platforms. In one such video a group of women could be seen repeatedly chanting ‘we want to go home’ while recounting some of the grievances they had. Many of these women had lost their means of income as a result of the economic crisis in Lebanon, the effects of which had been compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic and the August 4th Beirut explosion which killed dozens of people and injured thousands.
Some of the women had been engaging in freelance care, cleaning and hospitality work in order to keep supporting their families back home after escaping from their abusive and exploitative employers who had initially sponsored them to come into Lebanon as Migrant Domestic Workers under the Kafala system. These protests had been organised as a final resort to bring their grievances to light after their pleas for support from the Kenyan consulate, and by extension the Kenyan government, had been unsuccessful. In an expose published by CNN in July 2020, several Kenyan domestic workers in Lebanon accused the Kenyan consulate of extortion, corruption and abuse in their dealings with Kenyans who sought their services.