ABAAD is a non-profit, non-politically affiliated, non-religious civil association that aims to achieve gender equality as an essential condition to sustainable social and economic development in the MENA region. It seeks to promote women’s equality and participation through policy development, legal reform, gender mainstreaming, engaging men, eliminating discrimination, and empowering women to participate effectively and fully in their communities.
ABAAD also supports and collaborates with civil society organisations that are involved in gender equality programs and advocacy campaigns.
Recently ABAAD joined forces with Artist & famous Singer Mike Massy founder of The Voice Matters Workshops to have his workships tailored and aimed for women beneficiaries of ABAAD services all over Lebanon. These women of all ages are survivors or at risk of violence and are actually living in ABAADs “Al Dar” emergency safe shelters, as well as other women and girls benefiting from the safe spaces programs created by ABAAD in the Ministry of Social Affairs.
Mike Massy a well-known singer and actor who holds a graduate degree in Acting and Theatrical Studies and a Baccalaureate in Arabic Opera Singing and classical Piano; conducted extensive research to unify the spoken and singing voice. He also attended various workshops in Europe and the USA on the Alexander technique, Michael Lugering method and western and eastern singing methods.
Driven by his passion and the overwhelming desire to share his findings, Mike Massy created the Voice Matters Workshops– the first training initiative for spoken and singing voice in the MENA region that attracted participants from all over the MENA region and the world. To Mike Massy, Voice Matters is much more than a workshop; it is the privilege of self-discovery through the meanders of the complex human nature guided by one’s inner voice.
Mike Massy’s beautiful collaboration with ABAAD sheds the light on numerous challenges the women faced: the cultural backgrounds differences, the male conductor presence among them, the choice of a suitable venue to conduct the workshop in each region…
Together, ABAAD and MIKE MASSY coordinated to bring the Voice Matters Workshops to the women benefiting from ABAAD services all over Lebanon; 11 workshops were held in different points of work for ABAAD in different Lebanese regions; in Mount Lebanon, Bekaa, Beirut, and the North.
The focus of these workshops was mostly on communication, the use of their voice to express their needs, feelings and thoughts.
The beneficiaries of this project were around 110 women and girls from different regions in Lebanon, divided into 2 categories: the women and girls actually living in Abaad’s “Al Dar” emergency safe shelters, and women and girls benefiting from the safe spaces created by Abaad in the ministry of social affairs centers in different regions. Each workshop was held in the same region as the centre or shelter, for a total duration of nine hours, over a day and a half.
The purpose of these workshops was to help the participants process their emotions and guide them through the wonderful journey of creative expression using voice, body, music and drama. As a result of the close and humane experiences Mike shared with the participants of the Voice Matters Workshops with Abaad, Massy was greatly touched by the stories and feelings that these women shared during the workshops and he was inspired to write Kermali the song based on these stories. The song written, composed, arranged and musically produced by Mike conveys the messages the participating women wanted to express.
The group therapy helped the participants to learn how to reconnect socially and manage their social conduct while conveying their emotions through their voice after experiencing a blackout of their emotional delivery.This Art therapy approach helped them break the wall of shyness and social misanthropy, inciting them to find their path back to their self-esteem and social involvement.
Video Documentary about ABAAD below
Also, the exercises helped the participants communicate better with themselves, which in turn made it easier for them to connect with their self-image and their inner voice, as well as with others. Experiencing extreme physical action and voice expression helped them face their instant emotions, whether painful or soothing.
The social workers and surroundings of the participants reported a positive impact in the participants’ behaviours and communication.
The Music Video:
As part of the yearly campaign ABAAD prepared for the 16 days of activism from November 25th, the International day for the eradication of Violence against Women, through December 10th, Human Rights Day. Mike Massy partnered with ABAAD to be the artist for this year’s image campaign. A music video was shot for the song Kermali to create awareness towards women suffering from domestic abuse.
Far from direct visualization of women in actual domestic violence set ups, the chosen concept focusses on the inner path that every woman takes, from self-perception and low self-esteem reflections, all the way to breaking free and blossoming with a healing soul after counseling.