As a prelude to the publication of our Annual Report 2020/21, we feature from it a message from the Chief Executive of Survivors Fund (SURF), Samuel Munderere:
When I think about the past year what comes to my mind is resilience. Undoubtedly, 2020 was a difficult year. While our organisation was not immune to these challenges, I am proud of how our team and partners worked around finding new ways to support survivors across the country. Backed by our loyal individual and institutional donors we adjusted quickly. As the pandemic threatens to set back years of progress made towards improving survivor’s livelihoods and economic empowerment, we have been working hard to stop the setback and ensure genocide survivor’s livelihoods are not erased by the pandemic.
In the same year, we lost two of the most resilient survivors Simeon and Daphrose whose testimonies we have used over many years in our education and advocacy work, and who have inspired so many people who have read and heard them across the world.
This year we are privileged to have received important funding from Clifford Chance to expand our phone-based counselling work across Rwanda which has proved to be very effective during the lockdown and commemoration period. With support from Good Gifts Catalogue, we have been able to provide a wide range of assistance to survivors across the country to enable them to develop their livelihoods.
As you read this annual review, I hope the urgency of our work in the face of the current crisis comes to the forefront. I also hope you feel proud that we have weathered the storm of the pandemic and continued to deliver exceptional results. This year our mental health work reached well over 12,000 survivors. Our work is now more important than ever as we operate at the intersection point of significant issues including economic empowerment, psychosocial support and COVID-19. This important work will continue as we respond to the short term and long -term effects of the pandemic.
Thank you to our dedicated donors, who have continued to support our work, even amidst personal hardships due to COVID-19. I would also like to extend my appreciation to our Board of Trustees which has worked tirelessly to support our team to maximise our programmes and impact. I commend the passionate and committed staff, who make possible our work, for their dedication to ensuring that survivors are supported. In the year ahead we look forward to rebuilding the lives of more survivors through economic empowerment projects, mental health projects and skills development.