Marie Schlei Association (Germany) and its projects to Vietnamese women

The Marie Schlei Association, a non-governmental organisation, was founded in 1984 in memory of Madame Marie Schlei, former German minister for Development policy who first integrated women’s needs into development.

With the aim to promote the understanding and show the solidarity of German women with women in developing countries in the world, particularly in the South, the Marie Schlei activities focus o­n fund raising from the society and from fund of welfare or fund for international development assistance of German government to support women in the developing countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia, especially in the field of training, knowledge and life skills improvement to reduce poverty and eliminate hunger.


Being a non-profitable association, the Marie Schlei Association now composes of 900 members in the whole country, mainly in Western Germany. Its executive board which includes some women being the federal, sub federal senators and members of European Parliament, are in the current post or retired, working for Marie Schlei Association with voluntary. Actually, the Marie Schlei’s President is Madame Christa Randzio-Plath, the senator of European Parliament, Head of Economy and Finance Division of European Parliament.


Under the spirit of enabling poor women to enhance their income, thus improve their living conditions, actually there are over 150 projects, funded by Marie Schlei, being carried out in the developing countries, including Vietnam, which are focusing o­n agricultural production, fruit, flowers growing, vegetables production, conservation and marketing, husbandry raising/keeping with cultivation, sewing, tailoring, embroidery... through the provision of training, improvement of knowledge and skills in these fields.


Moreover, o­ne of the persuadable ways taken by Marie Schlei to raise funds and develop its members is to invite the representative of its beneficiary partner in different countries to Germany to present about women situation and report o­n the projects’ implementation in their respective country. This is also a chance for small amount of money that was contributed voluntarily by individuals to a common fund for funding its international projects.


In 1999, during the participation to the seminar o­n “Women in politics” in Thailand, organized by FES – Germany (based in Thailand), the VWU’s representative met Madame Christa Randzio-Plath, Senator, Marie Schlei’s President. Following this meeting, Marie Schlei had provided financial support to VWU under the first project “Providing loans for poor women in Son La province to produce and sell Tofu”. Up to now, besides the project in Son La, Marie Schlei have supported the VWU 03 other projects o­n developing VACR model in Lai Chau, maintaining and developing the flowers growing in Hai Phong, producing and selling mushroom in Hung Yen with total budget of 78,200 US$ for 450 poor women.


Apart from the provision of loans to poor women for investing in production, the projects have focused o­n organisation of trainings in order to provide them knowledge and skills o­n business planning, production management, losses-profit calculation... and others related to their specific production models, helping them to develop their household economy and to reduce poverty.

Although these projects are in small scale, that have partially brought practical interests to people and women in the project sites. The projects have contributed not o­nly to higher income, life improvement forpeople and women in project sites, but attracted more active women's involvement in WU’s activities, thus contributing to help VWU to implement well its objective as planned.


Through implementation of these development projects, the cooperation between VWU and the Marie Schlei Association is more and more close. Annually, VWU and WU at grass root levels are very pleased to receive Ms. Christa Randzo Plath visiting the projects during her mission to Vietnam.


In September 2002, as the invitation of Marie Schlei, the VWU’s representative went to Germany to present information about Vietnamese women and Marie Schlei’s projects run by VWU. Through this visit, Marie Schlei Direction Board appreciated the effective and strict implementation of these projects. It is our hope that in the near future, based o­n the positive results gained by the o­n-going projects, the Marie Schlei will continue to provide further financial support for projects towards Vietnamese poor women.