Rebuild the lives of the widows of the Rwandan genocide

by Survivor's Fund (SURF)

About the project


Surviving in Rwanda £1,240
tipping point
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!
tipping point
25 hrs
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!

More about the project

What is the social/environmental problem/issue that this project will address?
SURF has been working with a group of women survivors, all members of AVEGA (Association of Widows of the Genocide). At present the group has no sustainable source of income. They are dependent on subsistence farming to survive. This project aims to empower them to rebuild their lives through secure employment through an association.
Can you give us some statistics on this problem?
There are 25,000 members of AVEGA - all widows of the genocide - though the number of genocide widows is estimated to be 50,000. The majority survive through subsistence farming. Many lost their homes and land in the genocide, as well as enduring psychological and physical injury.
What is your solution?
The project recognises the innate potential of the widows, in particular their ability and craftsmanship in producing artisan goods. The project brings the widows together in associations in order to develop the goods collectively, and in the process guarantees a market for them through the sourcing and securing of trade orders. The project not only enables the widows to generate an income, but also helps to provide psychosocial support through the groups which provide mutual solidarity.
How will you deliver this?
The association will produce an array of goods, including bags and baskets for export, as well as jewellery, school uniforms and womenswear for the domestic market. The training will ensure that the women have the skills to fulfil the orders, which will be sourced in partnership with them through a specialist IGA officer, based at AVEGA.

Get involved

Here are some great ways to get involved with the project and help out. If you have...
  • 2 minutes
    Click on
  • 5 minutes
    Watch video:
  • 15 minutes
    Watch video:
  • 30 minutes
    Help to research potential funding prospects
  • A few hours
    Edit an article for a newsletter on the situation of survivors today
  • Regular time commitment
    Translate project proposals and reports of survivor’s organisations from French to English

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Opinions and comments mentioned on the FundIt.Buzz website are the personal views of individual contributors. FundIt.Buzz takes no responsibility for these views. However if you find something that you think does not meet our guidelines you can report it to
DavidR 04 April 2011 - 12:58

You can now see a film about the project on our youtube channel here:

Torsten Thiele 01 February 2011 - 17:05

I have had met SURF on several occasions and have been greatly impressed with their dedication. Please support this brilliant project.

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About the organisation

Vision and mission

Vision: A world where the rights and dignity of survivors are respected. Mission: Survivors Fund exists to rebuild a sense of self and trust in humanity among the survivors of the Rwandan genocide.

Geographical coverage


Our track record

SURF has supported AVEGA since 1997. In 2005 we secured a grant from the Department of International Development to support 2,500 HIV+ women survivors with antiretroviral treatment, and through a new grant from Comic Relief in 2010 we will be supporting 1,500 HIV+ women survivors with income-generating projects. This project will be a vital component in extending our reach to non-infected women survivors.

Who do we help?

400,000 survivors of the Rwandan genocide in Rwanda, and 1,500 survivors of the Rwandan genocide in the UK.

How do we deliver this?

SURF focuses its efforts and attention on the followings primary areas of concentration: HIV/AIDS, Psychosocial Support, Education/Vocational Training, Income Generating Activities, Shelter, Legal Assistance/Advocacy, and Memorials/Commemoration.

Awards And Recognitions

SURF has been recognised by Development Ratings as one of fifty of the most effective charities fighting poverty in the least developed countries: In a 2010 evaluation by Comic Relief of twelve years of SURF projects that they have funded, they concluded: “The achievements of SURF as a catalyst and advocate on behalf of survivor organisations, have been remarkable.”