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.
Foundation Rwanda and Survivors Fund (SURF) have been working together for over a decade to provide support for the most pressing issues affecting youth born of rape and their mothers, namely educational and psychosocial support. During 2018, 167 students were supported to attend secondary school due to support made possible from Foundation Rwanda. At the end of the year, 129 of them had graduated.
Since the program started in 2008, together we have supported over 850 young people born of rape to attend school and vocational training. A further 65 students are receiving support in 2019, with the hope that all will complete their schooling by 2020, at which point the schooling programme is set to conclude. Support on counselling for youth and mothers, as well as access to technical and vocational training, is set to continue over the years ahead, for as long as the need persists.
We have produced two short films on this work to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
The first is on our work providing support to women survivors who were raped during the genocide and have children born of that rape.
The second short film is on the vocational training programme which is enabling us to provide support to young people born to women survivors raped during the genocide.