Headquartered in Kigali, Rwanda, AVEGA Agahozo was founded in 1995 to help widows and their dependents escape the poverty, anguish and misery that filled their lives following the genocide of 1994.
Today, AVEGA has centres across Rwanda and includes among its members more than 19,000 widows and more than 71,000 dependants and orphans.
Sexual violence was often used to humiliate and degrade women during the genocide, with between 250,000 and 500,000 women raped during the 100 days of violence. Many of these women were traumatised or ashamed and are seeking help now only because they are ill.
For these women, AVEGA is a refuge, providing medical services, psychological counseling, education and training, housing and legal services. More than 47,000 women are receiving medical treatment through its programs.
AVEGA has also helped women become involved in income-generating activities, such as business projects, farming, basket-weaving and other handicraft. Garments produced on modern tailoring machines are now marketed worldwide.
AVEGA received the Gruber Foundation Prize for Women’s Rights in 2011.