It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Daphrose Mukangarambe, aged 57 years old. Daphrose died last week after a long struggle with liver disease.
Daphrose was truly an inspiration, and one of the first survivors interviewed by the team at Survivors Fund (SURF) back in 1999 as we collected the testimonies of genocide widows to raise awareness of their plight and to secure support for AVEGA Agahozo, of which Daphrose was an early member.
Despite enduring great violence during the genocide, and severe trauma subsequent to it, Daphrose was able to rebuild her life with the support of AVEGA and other genocide widows, in partnership with Survivors Fund (SURF) and our supporters.
The testimony of Daphrose was first recorded by Andrew Sutton and Rachel Collingwood of Central Studios, who returned to Rwanda many times and when possible took the opportunity to meet up with Daphrose to record further her story for posterity. Most recently, we recorded an interview with her in 2018 which was included as a central part of our 25 Years On film, marking the 25th Anniversary of the Genocide against the Tutsi.
As Daphrose recounted in that most recent interview, which is an important driver for our continuing work ahead:
One of the areas of specific support still required by survivors is the need for homes for the elderly and the need for social support to alleviate hardship. As you can see I was physically injured in the genocide, and ever since then my health has not been good. As we become older it is difficult for us to work around our home. For many elderly survivors who do not have relatives, it is very difficult. We get only a small monthly hardship support from FARG, but it is very little, and only supports us for a maximum of two weeks. If the harvest is not good, then we even go hungry. We need to do more to take care of elderly survivors.
The work of SURF is still important 25 years on from the genocide. I can say that SURF is like a parent for me, as it is from the work of SURF that I have got a house. SURF provides a space for me to enable me to speak to people if I have a problem. So many people like me have been supported through SURF. Because of the challenges I speak of over the coming years of ageing widows, and the need of hardship support, is why it is important for SURF to continue – as it enables us to have someone to speak to about our issues and to help provide support where possible.
Daphrose leaves one surviving daughter who continues to receive support from Survivors Fund (SURF) which is enabling her to access technical and vocational training.