Rwanda Genocide Widows Association (Avega Agahozo), Kigali, Rwanda
|Rwanda Genocide Widows Association (Avega Agahozo), Kigali, Rwanda|
|Street address:||P.O.Box: 1535|
|Location coordinates:||1° 57' 0" S, 30° 3' 32" E|
|Executive Director:||Chantal Kabasinga|
|Contact number:||+250 788 52 01 15|
|Organization type:||National NGO (operating countrywide or advocating at the national level)|
|Sectors:||Economic Empowerment, Gender Discrimination, Peace and Conflict, Reproductive Rights, Violence Against Women|
AVEGA Agahozo is a refuge, providing medical services, psychological counseling, education and training, housing and legal services. The organisation has just won the Women’s Rights Prize 2011 from the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation.
In 1994 more than one million Tutsi and moderate Hutu were murdered between 6 April and the middle of July. This atrocity, which is now accepted to have been genocide, was calculated and impeccably organized. As a result of this genocide, survivors were often left widowed, orphaned or handicapped. Many of these survivors continue to live in misery and untold hardships.
While it was men and boys who were particularly targeted during the killing, women were systematically raped by HIV infected men. This left thousands of HIV-positive widows traumatized by their experiences during the genocide; not only did many witness the murder of their loved ones, but they endured sexual violence that was designed to humiliate and degrade them. Many were gang raped, or raped with sharpened objects.
Of the 1125 widows interviewed by AVEGA, about 80% showed signs of trauma, and 67% are HIV-positive.
Creation of AVEGA
In 1995 fifty genocide widows formed AVEGA Agahazo, the Association of the Widows of Rwanda. AVEGA is a non- profit organization that aims to bring hope to widows, orphans, parents who lost their children, the elderly and the handicapped. AVEGA offers hope to women who were living in an abyss of sorrow.
AVEGA has helped women to live with the burden of HIV/AIDS. AVEGA has become a mountain of courage, a miracle of survival and endurance. Today they have administration centers in all four corners of Rwanda and have had many successes due to their supporters. In 1994, aftermath of the genocide, we were just 50 people; today we are over 25,000 people. Avega undertakes projects in four main areas:
- Psychological and Medical Care,
- Justice and Advocacy,
- Economics and Social Operations,
- Institutional capacity building