Who we are:
The Anti-Racism Movement (ARM) is a grassroots movement created by young activists in Lebanon in collaboration with migrant community leaders. Together we work on documenting, investigating, exposing and fighting racist practices through multiple initiatives and campaigns.
ARM was launched in 2010 following an incident at one of Beirut’s most well-known private beach resorts (Sporting Club). ARM activists, using a hidden camera, filmed the administration’s blatant acts of discrimination and segregation. The video quickly spread online, and ARM’s efforts to bring this issue to light were lauded by many. Interest grew in this small volunteer-based movement, members increased, and our projects grew in scope and scale. In 2012, ARM became a registered NGO with full and part-time staff, in order to increase its capacity to carry out more projects.
The Migrant Community Centers (MCCs) are currently ARM’s largest project. Established in Beirut in 2011, in Saida in early 2016, and in Jounieh in late 2016, the MCCs are free and safe spaces tailored to migrant workers and evolving according to their needs, where they can meet, learn new skills, work together, and access information, resources and assistance.
Since their creation, they have been offering free classes and other educational, social, and capacity-building activities, such as language classes, ICT classes, health awareness sessions, rights education, advocacy training, cultural exchange events, social gatherings, and various national holiday celebrations.
The MCCs also serve as a hub where initiatives are launched, a space to have celebrations and get-togethers, and a casual space for migrant workers to spend time with each other.
MCC’s operations are run by general coordinators and migrant community leaders, in collaboration with members of ARM.
What we do / Mission and Vision:
ARM’s goal is to decrease racist and discriminatory attitudes and behaviour among the Lebanese population, and to support changes in the institutions that perpetuate discriminatory and exploitative practices, through sensitization and awareness raising.
MCC’s goal is to make meaningful improvements in the quality of life of migrant workers in Lebanon and in their capacity to self-advocate, and to contribute towards a strengthened and powerful migrant civil society. The MCCs serve to engage, enable, empower, and mobilize migrant communities to advocate for their rights and to decrease discriminatory attitudes and behaviour. Our work focuses mostly on people of Asian and African origin, with a special focus on women migrant domestic workers.
Our theory of change shifts the positionality of migrant workers from beneficiaries and recipients of services to leaders and agents of social change in Lebanon. The MCCs provide the space, tools, resources, and capacity for MWs to self-organise and lead awareness and rights-based campaigns in order to help end discrimination and exploitation, and guarantee protection, rights, and access to justice. In parallel, ARM’s advocacy efforts tackle social issues related to racism, and aim to shift social norms by stigmatizing undesirable attitudes and behaviours, and building support for policy change.
Our Focus Areas:
Empowerment of migrant workers: Building the capacity of large groups of migrant workers to lead self-advocacy initiatives, through MCC’s free educational and training programs, and providing them with support and safe spaces (the MCCs) and assistance.
Fostering Social Change: Awareness-raising and education addressing discriminatory attitudes held by employers and the general public, led by ARM and migrant workers empowered through MCC. These advocacy efforts aim to modify attitudes and perceptions towards foreigners, and to increase public support for non-discrimination, better legal protection and the abolishment of the Kafala System.
Celebrating Cultural Diversity: Promoting migrant worker cultural presence and community, to expose the local population to these significant but largely ignored social groups in Lebanon.
Beirut, Saida, Jounieh (through the current MCCs), and national/regional through our advocacy and campaigning efforts.
Fields of Work:
Empowerment of migrant workers / women domestic workers, advocacy, awareness-raising, capacity-building, education, community-building, cultural and social activities.