Survivors and testimonies

28 Apr 2009

A critical aspect of the work of SURF is to raise awareness of the situation of survivors in Rwanda today. The most powerful means to do so is through the testimony of the survivors, empowering them to tell their story in their own words.

Survivors Fund (SURF) published a book of testimonies of survivors of the genocide, Survival Against the Odds, which highlights the experiences of women survivors raped during the genocide and infected with HIV.

Our partner Foundation Rwanda has an incredibly powerful collection of testimonies of women survivors, part of its Intended Consequences online exhibition. As well as providing an opportunity for survivors to record their own testimonies, SURF and Foundation Rwanda have been working together to enable others to read and share the testimonies of survivors.

The Reading of the Testimonies is an initiative that provides the resources to enable more people to access testimonies and the tools to organise events to raise awareness of the situation of survivors through public readings.

Over April, to mark the 15th Anniversary of the genocide, there have been events worldwide incorporating the reading of the testimonies including at the United Nations. We have set up a flickr account with photos from a number of these events. Those that particpated have included the famous, such as Joanna Lumley in the film below. However, every voice added to the campaign has been ciritical – in conveying the situation of survivors, and that the world 15 years on continues to care.