Sponsor an Orphan or Survivor (SOS)The aftermath of genocide is debilitating and complex. The early post-genocide years which included ‘child-headed households’ (where orphaned children as young as eight or nine were having to bring up their siblings) are now past. But neither the trauma of the genocide nor the challenges of growing up as a survivor pass as easily as the years. The young adults who were orphaned as children during the genocide are among the most vulnerable in Rwanda. Many having struggled in their education through trauma and poverty, and now facing huge challenges to find employment. For them the genocide lives on in the mountain of obstacles that someone who lost everything in ’94 often faces, they are without a family support network and the necessary resources. Our experience shows that for a significant number of survivors finding basic needs like food and shelter are not always possible. This has often led to survivors falling out of education in order to try and find such basic needs. One of the biggest fruits of sponsorship has been to stabilise such lives and enable them to access and complete education. If a survivor obtains a scholarship to university sponsorship is crucial to enable them to have living support while they study.
As well as the young adults struggling to find a way out of poverty there are older survivors, some injured, most widowed, who also need support. Sponsorship has enabled some, who have received cows, to buy and plant fodder for their cows and find a way out of poverty when the cow gives birth and produces milk.
The key aim of the sponsorship is to support the survivor whilst our partners seek to help them find a strategy out of dependence on outside help. For some of the older survivors this may not be possible and the sponsorship aims to restore to such older people the dignity and peace that was stolen from them in ’94. It has been a great joy to see sponsored survivors grow up, marry and find work. Their gratefulness to you will last their whole lives.