- Providing training and support for local counsellors
- Reaching 1,000 young genocide survivors
The 1994 genocide in Rwanda is well known. What is less understood is the lingering impact of the genocide on survivors’ ability to lead normal lives and earn enough income to support themselves. Many are heads of child-headed households, some are single mothers, and others are locked in land ownership disputes with relatives who seized their parents’ land when they were killed in the genocide. Working with our partner, the Survivors Fund (SURF), we are providing mental health support as part of SURF’s wider programme which offers a holistic package of entrepreneurship training to 1,000 young survivors of the genocide. We have trained 4 counsellors who in turn train young survivors to be Peer Support Counsellors, who then offer group counselling to their peers. So far, this programme has delivered impressive results. For example, when asked about their general health after 6 months receiving our support, 62% of clients described their health as ‘good’ or ‘very good’, compared with only 6% at the beginning of the project.
The Survivors Fund (SURF) was founded by Mary Kayitesi Blewitt OBE in 1997. It supports survivors of the 1994 genocide through local partner organisations established and managed by survivors themselves, including AVEGA (Association of Widows of the Genocide) and AERG (National Student’s Association of Genocide Survivors). SURF delivers technical support including capacity-building and monitoring and evaluation to these local organisations. This enables their partners to deliver projects ranging from healthcare to housebuilding, education to entrepreneurship. SURF is a UK registered charity, managed and run out of its head office in Kigali, Rwanda.