Continuing our series of articles from our Annual Report 2020/21, we outline here our work on our Good Gifts Initiative.
Through funding from the Good Gifts Catalogue, an initiative of the Charities Advisory Trust, we have extended our support to thousands of widows and orphans that are beneficiaries of our ongoing livelihoods program, enabling them to become more independent and self-sufficient.
Survivors Fund (SURF) aims to alleviate the impact of poverty on vulnerable survivors by strengthening their families to secure viable livelihoods. The funding from Good Gifts helps to set up income generating projects which empower communities to fight poverty and take more active role in determining their lives.
Many survivors have been supported, receiving livestock, agricultural materials, solar lights and cookers, meals for schoolchildren and much more.
Patricia is a 53-year-old genocide widow from Western Rwanda in Nyamasheke District. She survived the genocide with her two children. However, three of her children and her husband were killed. She is among the beneficiaries who have benefited from the distribution of livestock made possible through funding from Good Gifts. She has received a cow to help her get milk and fertiliser to make her land that she farms for food for her family more productive.
Patricia confirmed that the cow has transformed her life. “I am very happy for this cow. It has given me a source of income. We get 15 litres of milk per day from her. I keep 2 litres and sell the rest. Each month I get about Frw 80,000 (£60) from milk sales. The cow has enabled me to drink milk and sell the rest to help me buy other essential items that I need at home without asking for help from AVEGA.” Patricia has seen some changes from her harvest after using the natural fertiliser from her cow. The local authorities use Patricia’s experience to encourage women in her village to work hard at whatever they have to do.
Julienne is a 62-year-old genocide widow. She received financial help through Good Gifts to improve her banana plantation. Before receiving the support, she grew bananas for home consumption but upon getting the help through Good Gifts she expanded and improved her banana farming.
Today Julienne has made good use of her family land. She lives near a market and takes her produce to sell in the market. She earns about Rwf 100,000 (£75 per month) from the sale of bananas.
Julienne has also been introduced to our community counselling program where she is getting emotional and psychological support. Her neighbours have confirmed that the changes they have seen in her have been remarkable. In her community previously she was someone who was seen as having no hope for the future. Now she is a valued member of the community.
Julienne comments: “The support that I have received has helped me to move from farming food for my family to cultivating more produce which I can then sell at the market. It has been amazing how much income I can generate from the bananas, and the difference that has made for me and my family. I no longer need to worry about whether I can afford to buy other food or items for the family. I can now meet my family needs without any problem. Thank you for making that possible.”