Survivors Fund (SURF) was founded by Mary Kayitesi Blewitt OBE, a British citizen of Rwandan origin. Mary lost over 50 members of her family in the genocide and helped establish the first survivors’ organisations in Rwanda working for the Rwandan Ministry of Rehabilitation from July 1994. On her return to the UK in 1995 she began to support survivors through establishing SURF, registering the organisation in the UK as a charity (No. 1065705) and a company limited by guarantee (No. 03411565).
Survivors Fund (SURF) continues today to rebuild the lives of survivors of the Rwandan genocide. All our work is informed and underpinned by four guiding principles. SURF is:
- Committed over the long term to survivors and partners in Rwanda and the UK.
- Independent and flexible in its response to the priorities of survivors.
- Identifying activities to fund that are high impact and sustainable.
- Building the capacity of its partners to deliver programmes.
Holistic programmes are developed and delivered by survivor-led organisations including AVEGA (Association of Widows of the Genocide) and AERG (Student’s Association of Survivors), with technical support from SURF. Any one angle of assistance – be it medical, economic or social – would be an incomplete answer. Thus the programmes range from healthcare to house building, education to entrepreneurship.