About Survivors Fund

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 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. All our work is informed and underpinned by four guiding principles:

  • SURF’s commitment to survivors and related vulnerable persons is long term
  • SURF is independent in its response to the priorities of survivors and related vulnerable persons
  • SURF builds the capacity of survivor organisations as strong actors in Rwandan civil society
  • SURF supports sustainable activities that are integrated into mainstream planning

Holistic programmes are developed and delivered by survivor-led organisations including AVEGA (Association of Widows of the Genocide), GAERG (Graduate Student’s Association of Survivors) 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.

Our priorities for the period 2024 to 2028 are set out in our Strategic Plan.