Today, 07 April 2013, marks the nineteenth anniversary of the start of the Rwandan genocide. On this tragic day in history, a terrible campaign was unleashed on a defenseless group of people in a small central African county. In a little over three months, by the time the killing had been stopped, more than 800,000 men, women and children had been killed with countless more severely injured or wounded.
As a charity, Survivors Fund, or SURF, has committed itself to assisting survivors of the Rwandan genocide. April is always an important month for SURF as it looks to raise awareness about the on-going needs of survivors of the genocide, as well as supporting the survivors with their acute and painful memories surrounding this date.
For SURF, the theme for this year’s commemoration is kwigira (self-reliance). Self-reliance has long been a key aspect of SURF’s work: helping genocide widows through SURF’s HIV+ Survivors Integration Project, Widowed Survivors Empowerment Project and Genocide Widows Empowerment Project.
As part of the nineteenth anniversary commemoration, Survivors Fund (SURF) will be campaigning for the establishment of an International Trust Fund for Survivors of the Genocide against the Tutsi to enable the self-reliance of genocide survivors over the years ahead. As Noam Schimmel writes in the Huffington Post, it is critical that the UN and international agencies commit: “… funding and programming to meet the needs of genocide survivors in Rwanda today and transform vulnerability and disadvantage to security, rehabilitation, and empowerment.”
Having worked with SURF since 2003, we have great respect for their mission and dedication to such an important and unheralded cause. We consider it a great honour to work with SURF and look forward to continuing our support in this important year.