Back to the newslist
01 September 2014

Rwanda: SEVOTA and medica mondiale working to support children of survivors

In August 2014, the Grant Program Officer for the Great Lakes Region in Africa at medica mondiale, Karen Knipp-Rentrop, visited our partner organisation of many years, SEVOTA. This Rwandan women’s organisation supports survivors of the genocide. Over the years, many women have regained their vitality thanks to SEVOTA and now they are calling for increased support for their children.

This is repeatedly a very important issue at meetings of survivors: the children born as a result of wartime rape. They are often rejected by their families, society and even the women themselves. However, counselling and sharing experiences with others has led to many women becoming able to develop a healthy relationship to their children and this in turn leads them to seek solutions to protect their children from unjust rejection. In fact, these children are now almost adult and participate in some of the meetings themselves. Here they have their own opportunities for exchange and advice, but then afterwards they have to return to surroundings where stigmatisation or even threats characterise their experience.

Deepest desire of the mothers: vocational training for their children

In several conversations between Karen Knipp-Rentrop, Godelieve Mukasarasi, founder of SEVOTA, and Rwandan female specialists, they discussed the mothers’ desire to work more intensively with their children and with the people in their surroundings, such as neighbours, teachers and their whole communities. In addition, they are demanding more state support for their children, such as financial assistance so they can pay for school fees and training for their children.

SEVOTA and medica mondiale are currently working together to achieve their aims of further developing the psychosocial work with the children, establishing discussion groups in the immediate vicinity of the women, raising public awareness in communities and at a national level, and gaining state support for the children of survivors. Thanks to the assistance of generous donors, medica mondiale is able to support the work of SEVOTA this year with funding of 35,000 euros. More donations will enable us to continue this support and develop it in future. You can help, too!