SURF’s campaign to mark the 10th Anniversary of the Rwandan genocide in 2004 was centred on raising awareness of the plight of women survivors raped and infected with HIV and AIDS during the genocide. The campaign included a Reading of the Testimonies in Trafalgar Square.
In 2005, through a £4.25 million Care and Treatment Programme, funded by the UK Department for International Development, 2,500 HIV+ women survivors were given access to life-saving antiretroviral treatment through clinics managed by SURF’s partners AVEGA and Solace Ministries.
The programme has been remarkable, transforming the lives of not only the women but their dependents as well – many of whom are orphans of the genocide – through a holistic programme of support, which includes psychosocial counselling, education, nutrition and microfinance.
DFID’s funding has been vital to the survivors. There are many sensitivities for survivors in accessing treatment through public health clinics, which Martin Leach, Head of DFID Rwanda & Burundi, comments on in his blog about a visit to an AVEGA clinic. SURF is continuing to campaign to secure greater funding to provide access to treatment for more HIV+ survivors in need.