On October 18th, 2018, during the 150th anniversary of the Missionaries of Africa, whose founder Charles Lavigerie had campaigned against slave trade in Africa, Sr. Margit Forster gave a talk on “Modern Slavery and the fight against Human Trafficking in Germany Today”. The celebration took place in the Catholic School St. Francis, Berlin.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of SOLWODI Berlin, friends, network partners, supporters and colleagues gathered at a summer-warm May evening in the community center of the Evangelische Brüdergemeine. While entering the light-filled community hall, the visitor was greeted with impressive paintings by women of the SOLWODI Art Course.
At the rear of the hall an installation impressed, which was created especially for the occasion of this year’s anniversary by the artist Monika Ortmann.
In addition, winning works from the design competition of the broken hearts foundation, which calls for more courage to stand up against modern slavery, were presented as postcards and posters.
While the Duo Lebensgeister, Miriam Bondy and Olaf Garbow, accompanied the evening with polyphonic world music, Gudrun Angelis moderated the contributions of Susanna Kahlefeld (MP Berlin, Alliance 90/The Greens), Burkard Dregger (MP Berlin, CDU), Sr. Lea Ackermann as well as Margit Forster and Mabel Mariotti.
Afterwards, the buffet was opened and, with a glass of wine, the guests enjoyed the various art-displays or chatted in the garden.
The evening showed that many people have been touched by the 10 years work of the counseling center, but that the number of victims of trafficking has increased and there is more need for action at social and political level.
All in all, the anniversary celebration was a wonderful social gathering that most probably left an imprint in many hearts and minds.
Thoughts on the summer party 2017. It is a beautiful day in August, the sun is shining, in contrast to the last days and it seems as if on purpose, because today the SOLWODI summer party is supposed to take place. During the last days we had lots to organize, went shopping and also had a look at the location – the „Tempelhofer Feld“. The day begins, as usual, at the counseling center, but very soon we start packing the cars, which have been made available to us by various volunteers. The mood is cheerful, but also slightly tense and the question, “will everything work out?” lingers in the air. We arrive early at the location, and fortunately not alone. Many volunteers have come early to help us prepare everything. Tables are set up as a buffet and many colorful blankets serve as „picnic tables”. Little by little our women appear. In most cases, they push buggies in front of them, they are mostly in groups and smile over the entire face. They embrace us to say hello and start to bring their self-prepared food to the buffet. Slowly the women settle down and start talking. Some already know each other, some meet for the first time, yet the mood is not tense, contrary to expectations. Soon there is much laughter, singing and dancing. As soon as most of the women are present, the buffet is solemnly opened and the food is celebrated. Many children run around, play with balls and soap bubbles, laugh a lot and feel visibly happy. I especially like the openness with which the women meet. No matter where they originally come from, no matter what religion they belong to, they come together and celebrate, not next to each other but with each other. But what are we celebrating? I guess this is quite individual, but you could actually celebrate everything today: the freedom to come together on this day, the fact that SOLWODI is an organization which obviously can bring a diverse range of women together, that the women can come together and laugh despite their story, that they bring wonderful children with them, or simply that we all live this life at this time and meet in such a magical moment. The whole party is like a parallel universe, I partly feel detached from time and space. I could be anywhere in the world, no matter what time, I believe as long as I am with these women it will be a wonderful day. Unfortunately, however, this day passes quickly; I am terribly tired and very happy at the same time. What remains is the hope to be there the next time and my memory of a little miracle. Ronja Mohs (intern)
From 19th – 25th March 2017 Mabel Mariotti attended a training course on migration and human trafficking, organized by the European network RENATE (Religious in Europe Against Trafficking and Exploitation) in Ravenstein, Netherlands. This was a good opportunity to strengthen and expand our network of religious and NGO contacts active in this area.
Sister Mabel Mariotti (SOLWODI Berlin e. V.) und Sister Adina Balan (SOLWODI Romania) held a workshop on human trafficking and forced prostitution at a European Conference on the subject. The event took place from the 6th – 12th November 2016 in Rome and was organized by the European network RENATE.