Violence against Women

Thursday, 15. October 2009 | 13:30 Uhr


Sr Lea Ackermann



Sr Lea Ackermann

Sister Dr. Lea Ackermann was born on February 2, 1937 in the Saarland region. After making an apprenticeship in a bank and working as a banking professional in Saarbrücken and Paris, she joined the congregation of “Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa (White Sisters)” in the year 1960.

From 1967 to 1972, she was teacher and director of a boarding school for girls with an affiliated teacher training college for women in Rwanda.
After 1972, she studied Educational Theory, Psychology and Theology at the University of Munich. In 1977, she received her doctorate due to a dissertation on “education and schooling in Rwanda – problems and possibilities of an autonomous approach”.

From 1977 to 1984, she worked as educational consultant at Missio Munich and was lecturer of Social Pedagogy at the Catholic University of Eichstätt.
In 1985, she was delegated to the Kenyan harbor town of Mombasa where she founded SOLWODI (Solidarity with Women in Distress), a project aimed at helping women and girls to stop working as prostitutes as means to earn their livelihood.

Since 1997, SOLWODI KENYA has been recognized as an independent non-governmental organization (NGO). In 2008, Sister Lea founded together with the Bishop of Mombasa a SOLWODI shelter for street children and young prostitutes. In the year 2002, she founded in Mombasa SOLGIDI (Solidarity with Girls in Distress), an initiative for daughters of prostitutes. Another SOLWODI initiative in Africa was the widow and orphans project in the Rwandan capital of Kigali.
In Germany, Sister Lea has been active through SOLWODI for migrant women in situations of distress since 1988: victims of marriage trade, human traffic, forced prostitution, forced marriage and gender violence.

Sr. Lea has been often awarded prizes and honored for her work: she received an honorary doctorate by the Faculty of Theology of the University of Lucerne (2008), amongst others.

Donators and Partners

The ETH Board is responsible for the strategic leadership of the ETH domain and assumes the supervision of its institutions. Its close relationship with the ETH Council has contributed to the successful continuation of Academia Engelberg Foundation since 2000.

The Foundation promotes research into the connecting human fundamentals of science. Academia Engelberg Foundation and the Foundation for Basic Research in Human Sciences have entered into a cooperation agreement for the period 2011 to 2015.

Helvetia is a quality-oriented comprehensive insurance company with over 150 years of experience. Academia Engelberg Foundation is convinced it will be able to use important synergies from the partnership starting in 2015.

A partnership with the University of Lucerne has existed since summer 2013. Since 2016 we have also a parthership with the Faculty of Economics and Management of the University of Lucerne. Through these partnerships, synergies are used and joint projects are tested and realized. The University of Lucerne currently consists of three faculties: the faculties for Theology, Culture and Social Sciences, and Law.