Continuing our series of articles from our Annual Report 2019/20, we outline here our work on our Foundation Rwanda programme.
Through funding from Foundation Rwanda, Survivors Fund (SURF) is currently addressing the education and counselling needs of young people conceived through rape during and under circumstances directly related to the 1994 genocide committed against Tutsi in Rwanda. The challenge for the affected mothers and children is that FARG, the government body that assists vulnerable survivors of the genocide, does not consider these young people eligible for support because they were born after genocide and thus are not by definition survivors. However, they are recognised to be a particularly vulnerable and marginalised population.
Since Foundation Rwanda’s inception in 2007, Survivors Fund (SURF) has been the key partner in providing life-changing services to the Foundation Rwanda families, which has helped more than 1,700 women and their offspring.
With funding from the Big Give Christmas Challenge in 2020 we provided scholarships for Vocational Training to 60 youth born of genocide to acquire different technical skills including, plumbing, tailoring, car mechanics and hairdressing. The same students attended a youth counselling camp that provided an opportunity for them to get help with their mental health challenges. 22 students were sponsored to complete their secondary school education.
The students who have grown into inspiring, hopeful young adults now face the challenge of securing jobs or attending university while grappling with the circumstances of their birth and the legacy of trauma. SURF remains committed to continue implementing Foundation Rwanda’s programs with our local partner organizations, Solace Ministries, Kanyarwanda, and AVEGA Agahozo.
Uwitekazabe is one of the young people which has been supported to access vocational training, as well as start-up loan to set up a small business to practice their newly acquired trade, through the Foundation Rwanda programme over the past year.
“When I finished skill training, I approached Survivors Fund (SURF) about a loan to start up a welding business. SURF supported me with Rwf 460,000 (GBP 400), and I started working. Since then my life has completely changed. I expanded my project. I am responsible for my household. I earn about Rwf 150,000 (GBP 125) a month from my welding work and if I need to do some small things regarding welding at home I can now do it myself too, saving us money as well.”