A significant aspect of our work at Survivors Fund (SURF) is reporting – reporting on our own progress, that of our partner organisations, as well as the situation of survivors in Rwanda and the UK.
During my current visit to Rwanda, I have been working on several reports to donors.
One report in particular that I wish to highlight, is that which we submitted to Comic Relief on the work of IBUKA and AVEGA Western Region (AWR), which have received funding through SURF for a capacity-building project.
The grant for AWR, which represents widows of the genocide out of its base in Cyangugu, has been transformative; enabling the organisation to deliver support to, and advocate for, 3,467 genocide widows and over 10,000 of their dependents.
The office of AWR reopened in 2008 as a result of the grant, and the legacy of the project is a network of self-sufficient associations of widows which have established successful income-generating activities. One example is ingoro y’urukundo (meaning “house of love”) in Uwinteko village in Mururu sector of Rusizi district.
“Before everybody was on their own,” Mukabucyana Berte, Coordinator of ingoro y’urukundo, told us during our visit to AWR to collate the report to Comic Relief:
“We hardly had anything to keep our life going. But now you can see for yourself. Everybody looks smart and healthy. All this is because of our mother AVEGA which facilitated us to form this association, trained us on how to form and manage income generating projects, after which they helped us to get capital which enabled us to start business. We sell agricultural products, and out of the interest that we have got, we established a hair salon. From all this we get money for the members to afford their household needs. There is no way we can satisfactorily thank AVEGA, for all that they have done for us.”
As AVEGA celebrated this weekend its 15th Anniversary, its work is proving to be more critical than ever in supporting widows of the genocide, many which are ageing. SURF has the easy task, of reporting on such exemplary work!