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19. April 2018

“Supporting women’s rights is a way to support society as a whole.”

Press Release: Cologne, 19 April 2018. medica mondiale has been providing support since 1993 to women and girls who experienced sexualised wartime violence. Based in Cologne, Germany, the women’s rights organisation has supported more than 150,000 people in the past 25 years, successfully putting the issue of wartime violence onto the political agenda. “Monika Hauser – a Portrait”, is a documentary film about the founder of medica mondiale. It will be screened on 26 April in Cologne and released across Germany on 3 May.

Courage, solidarity and a feeling of responsibility: these were the forces that drove the trainee gynaecologist Monika Hauser to set off for the war zone in Bosnia in 1992. In Zenica just a few months later, in Spring 1993, she set up the first therapy centre for women and girls who had been raped. Together with local female experts she wanted to offer a counterpoint to the horrors of war: empathic, integrated and trauma-sensitive assistance for those affected.

“At that time I was following an inner purpose, even though my plans seemed unrealisable. I wanted to establish something that had not been set up before. This blend of pioneer spirit and solidarity still characterises our work today,” explains Monika Hauser on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the organisation she set up: medica mondiale. Setting up a project such as this and developing totally new approaches is not something anyone can do on their own. Ms Hauser draws strength and inspiration from working together with colleagues and activists in Cologne and around the world. “Connecting with and teaming up with others is the only way to make progress.”

“Our vocal action for women’s rights has led to the issue of sexualised violence being put on the political agenda and remaining there,” explains Monika Hauser. One example of this is the United Nations Resolution 1325 on “Women, Peace and Security”. The activist expects German politicians to make clear statements and take clear action against wars and arms exports. They also need to invest significantly more resources in foreign and security policy oriented towards civilian crisis prevention. After all: “Supporting women’s rights is a way to support society as a whole.”

Together with more than 30 partner organisations worldwide, medica mondiale provides support to women and girls who have been raped, tortured, kidnapped and enslaved. This work often takes place under extremely difficult conditions. It is carried out by female staff of organisations set up by medica mondiale which have now become independent in Afghanistan, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Liberia as well as local women’s organisations such as the partners in Rwanda or the Democratic Republic of Congo. This has all been made possible by some 63,000 supporters who have given donations or organised solidarity events since 1993.

Documentary film “Monika Hauser – a Portrait”

On April 26, 2018, the International Women’s Film Festival in cooperation with medica mondiale will show the documentary film “Monika Hauser – a Portrait”. With a nationwide release date of May 3, the film tells how the women’s rights organisation was set up and accompanies the founder to a range of different locations in her struggle against sexualised wartime violence.

Venue: Filmforum NRW e.V. in Museum Ludwig, Bischofsgartenstr. 1, 50667 Cologne
Time: 8pm, doors open 7pm
With: Monika Hauser and the directors Evi Oberkofler and Edith Eisenstecken
Entrance: advance tickets 7 euros, door: 8 euros

The film is released to cinemas across Germany on 3 May 2018.
Screening information at


Further information

The PDF file “25 years of medica mondiale – an overview“ contains further information on our work and its milestones. We can also arrange interviews with experts from medica mondiale.

Press photos