Survivors Needs Do Not End with the Commemorative Period

Posted: July 7, 2017
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Rwanda genocide commemoration

This month, specifically on July 4th, Rwanda and the world marked the conclusion of the annual commemorative period for the victims of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. This is a genocide which claimed more than a million lives in just 100 days.

During the commemorative period, there is generally a little more attention paid to survivors needs, although more attention is certainly needed even during this period. However, in the aftermath of the commemorative period, the world tends to move on to business as usual and survivors needs in Rwanda and elsewhere are unfortunately not given the necessary attention.

Based on Genocide Survivors Foundation (GSF)’s research and knowledge, the needs of survivors in Rwanda 23 years after the genocide remains many and varied, ranging from a lack of access to higher education, housing, employment opportunities, and lack of mental health services or support for trauma healing. This is so despite efforts made by the government of Rwanda and a number of nonprofit organizations to address these needs over the past 23 years.

When one travels to Rwanda and visits survivor communities, it becomes clear that more support is needed and some of it very urgently. For example, one of the main challenges facing the survivor community in Rwanda today is the significant needs of its aging population.

In a country that has no history of nursing homes and where a person’s social security and support in old age is a person’s family, the aging experience of survivors who lost both their spouses and children is a difficult one. Many elderly survivors are aging without support in securing daily necessities such as food, water or healthcare. This is simply unacceptable.

In response to this particular problem, local associations of genocide widows in Rwanda are trying to secure financial support to build group homes where aging survivors without family can live and have their daily needs taken care off by a caring staff. GSF is committed to working with local genocide survivors associations to make these old age homes a reality for survivors. For many of these survivors, time is of the essence as many are dying on the daily basis.

At GSF, we believe that genocide survivors in Rwanda and elsewhere deserve to age with dignity and with the support that they need. But we cannot make this reality possible without your support.  Therefore, we call on you for your support. Please consider making a tax deductible donation to help us continue our work to support survivors and help prevent future genocides.

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