As a prelude to the publication of our Annual Report 2017-18, we feature from it a message from the Chair of Survivors Fund (SURF), Sam Hunt:
This has been a busy year of many challenges but also many successes for the organisation. I would like to express my deep gratitude to the staff of Survivors Fund (SURF), led by our inspirational Director Sam Munderere, who continue to demonstrate such loyalty and dedication to our work. I also owe enormous thanks to SURF’s Board of Trustees for their steadfast commitment and support.
This year the Empowering Vulnerable Young Survivors who have left Secondary School to Create, Secure and Sustain Employment (ELE) Project, which focussed on empowering secondary school leavers to create, secure and sustain employment, reached a conclusion, having made a significant difference in the lives of many young people, both at individual and community levels. The HIV+ Survivors Empowerment Project (SEP), which aims to develop more secure incomes for vulnerable genocide widows, has similarly continued to make good progress and has now been implemented across 8 districts of the Southern Province of Rwanda in partnership with AVEGA.
After a successful pilot project, we have developed a new partnership with Network for Africa to provide counselling for young survivors in membership of AERG. This project has already exceeded the initial target of 500 beneficiaries. It complements the AERG Legal and Counselling Helpline which was established to fill the gap in support for young survivors with legal and mental health challenges, so that they can access support regardless of where they are located. The Helpline was initially launched with the intention of providing primarily phone-based support. However, since its establishment in August 2013, the Helpline has grown from a small pilot telephone-based service to an innovative, all-encompassing legal and counselling support service.
With the support of André Cohen, a new AERG Innovation Fund has been launched to support and empower young entrepreneurs to broaden their skills and access investment funding that will be used to scale up their businesses. In addition, we have been able to continue to extend livelihood assistance to many survivors through the support of the Charities Advisory Trust, our long-time partner, through its Good Gifts Catalogue. SURF owes an enormous debt of gratitude to all of our donors. It is only through your generosity and support that SURF has been able to achieve all that it has.
It is now 24 years since the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. The passage of time has not diminished the suffering of the survivors, nor lessened the support many still require to rebuild their lives. We at Survivors Fund (SURF) are dedicated and committed to provide that support, as long as the need remains. We hope that you will join us in that vital mission.
For those interested to learn more, and to support our work further, this website offers more information and links to films which bring to life some of the projects detailed here, as well as the opportunity to donate to support the work.
Thank you for supporting our work and helping survivors achieve their true potential.
Chair, Survivors Fund (SURF)