One migrant worker’s 33-year journey in Lebanon


Mat Nashed for the DailyStar

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. The pair were held for two days before being forced into a crowded rickety boat destined for the war-torn capital of Beirut during the height of the Lebanese Civil War in 1983.

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