GSF Supports a Women Genocide Survivors Retreat in Rwanda

Posted: September 1, 2018
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This past August, Genocide Survivors Foundation (GSF) supported the second women genocide survivors retreat in Rwanda. The retreat which was organized by genocide survivor and activist Liliane Pari Umuhoza and Survivors Fund took place from August 13th to August 15th and brought together 40 women survivors of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

In addition to the other atrocities witnessed and family loss suffered, the women survivors who attended the retreat were victims of rape during the genocide and many of them are now HIV positive as a result. Many of the women are also caring for children born from the rapes.

The three-day retreat focused on trauma and resilience; how the women could support each other in their healing process and how they could help their children born of rape deal with their own trauma and daily struggles. The retreat participants also had an opportunity to listen to an experienced nurse who taught them about the importance of self-care especially as women living with HIV and other related illnesses.

Additionally, women were taught financial management skills and how they can develop and start their own small businesses to provide for their families’ economic needs.

For many of the women, this was the first time since the genocide that they were able to share their stories with other women who suffered the same and they expressed deep gratitude for the opportunity to know that they are not alone in their daily struggles. Two women who had stopped taking their HIV medication as result of feeling depressed and without hope for the future left the retreat motivated and ready to start taking the medication again.

GSF hopes to continue supporting this annual retreat which is critical to women survivors’ journey of healing as indicated by the feedback received from the participants.

To learn more about this powerful retreat, please read the full report here: 2nd Women Genocide Survivors Retreat (August 13th to August 15th, 2018)

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