The 2nd Women Genocide Survivors Retreat was held in August 2018 in Kabgayi, in the Southern Province of Rwanda. It built on the successful inaugural retreat of last year. The three-day retreat brought together 40 women survivors of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. It was organised by Liliane Pari Umuhoza, a former intern from Survivors Fund (SURF) who is a survivor herself, with the support of Survivors Fund (SURF).
Many of the attendees were women who had experienced rape during the genocide and as a consequence are HIV positive and have children born from that atrocious experience. Others are women who live in extreme poverty, and have chronic diseases like Hepatitis and many other detrimental and incurable diseases, all as consequences of the genocide. The main purpose of the retreat was to give psychological support to these women by giving them time and space for self-expression, and to empower them so that they can be more resilient and move forward on the path of healing.
Some of the highlights of the retreat included:
– Two women who had given up on taking HIV positive medications accepted to take them again.
– This year, again we had survivors’ who shared their stories for the first time after 24 years. This is a huge relief and a great start toward the healing journey for survivors!
– Some of the women will receive funding for a capital to put into action their business ideas.
– Through Income Generating Activities Training, women with some capital decided to start a business on their own.
– We figured out that some women who are HIV+ are giving up on taking medications and it is a reminder for us to put much effort in encouraging them.
The full report of the retreat is available here. Thanks to all those that made it possible, including Pastor Antoinne Rutayisire, Dr Ntete Jeanne Marie, Dr Gishoma Darius, Dr Assoumpta Muhayisa, Ndahiro Emmanuel Prince, Ubarushimpuhwe Immaculee, Sam Hunt, Samuel Munderere, and of course Liliane Pari Umuhoza.