SOLidarity with WOmen in DIstress (SOLWODI) assists women and girl victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation, sexual violence, domestic violence and/or forced marriage, or who are in other situations of distress.
SOLWODI was founded in Kenya in 1985 by Sister Doctor Lea Ackermann following her experiences in Mombasa, where she witnessed how extreme poverty in the region was pushing vulnerable women into prostitution. She launched the non-denominational, non-partisan organization to provide support and advice to the women, including assistance to exit prostitution.
After returning home to Germany, Dr. Ackermann realized that foreign women were encountering similar problems there and established SOLWODI Germany in 1987.
Today, SOLWODI has 15 counseling centers, one contact office and 7 shelters throughout Germany, 10 counseling centers along the Kenyan coast and is supporting a project in Rwanda assisting widows and orphans. In 2010, SOLWODI opened a counseling center in Bucharest, Romania, and in 2012, SOLWODI Austria was founded.
SOLWODI assists both foreign women and women from within the countries in which it works. Through its network of counseling centers and organizations in Germany and abroad, SOLWODI provides holistic psychosocial care and counseling, shelter, legal aid, medical assistance, integration services and residence permits, as well as support in returning foreign women and girls to their home countries. The organization also raises public awareness to foster understanding about the experiences of the women it is working with, and carries out advocacy and lobbying work aimed at changing policies on migration and violence against women issues.