In memory of Lea Ackermann – Solwodi founder (86), deceased
The religious and women’s rights activist Lea Ackermann died on October 31 2023, at the age of 86. This was announced by the association “Solidarity with women in distress” (SOLWODI), which was founded by her.
Sister Lea has worked for women for over 30 years and freed hundreds of people from forced prostitution.
Excerpt from an article from the Episcopal Press Office:
Lea Ackermann was actually sent to Kenya by her order “Mission Sisters of Our Lady of Africa/White Sisters” in 1985 to train teachers. But she wanted to do something for people who had absolutely no chance. She turned to fighting poverty driven prostitution and campaigned for girls and women who, out of need, sold their bodies “for five cents for five minutes”. She founded “Solwodi” and built a network of advice centers and shelters in Germany. When she realized that forced prostitution and the slave trade in girls and women were also flourishing in Germany, she continued her fight there too. As a current case, she presented the fate of a 16-year-old African girl who was kidnapped to Germany and had to work in a brothel. She confided in a policewoman and came to Solwodi, as one of many thousands of women alone in Germany who turned to the aid organization for advice and protection. There are now also contact points in Romania, Hungary and Austria and “Solgidi” (gi = girls) for the daughters of the women are looked after by “Solwodi”.
Solwodi’s main tasks are still informing the public, providing concrete help for girls and women, for example by accompanying them on official visits or arranging German courses and legal advice, as well as setting up shelters.
From the obituary of the “Solwodi” association:
With Sr. Lea, SOLWODI loses a strong personality and charismatic founder. It is thanks to her that issues such as prostitution and gender-based violence first came onto the agenda in the late 1980s. She has worked tirelessly to ensure that the group of particularly vulnerable women, i.e. women with a migration or refugee history and who have experienced violence, receive support and have a voice. The fact that SOLWODI is now represented at 18 locations with 21 specialist advice centers and is a contact point for over 2,000 women every year is the great achievement of a lifetime.
Sister Lea Ackermann is buried in Trier. May she rest in peace in her Eternal home.