Survivors Fund (SURF) Community Counselling Initiative
Survivors Fund (SURF) works in partnership with Foundation Rwanda to provide access to regular counselling for women survivors who have had children born of rape during the genocide. The programme enables them to share and help each other work through their problems through a well-structured peer support approach called the Community Counselling Initiative.
These women, who were previously marginalised, stigmatised and alone in their trauma, can build their confidence and self-esteem, increase their knowledge, enhance positive emotions and reduce shame. The counselling groups also help to improve relationships with their children and family.
As one woman explained: ‘I always thought that I was the only one suffering from having a child that was born out of rape, but after our counselling group discussion, I got to know that it is no longer my concern as an individual but our concern as a group. Sharing our experiences gives me more hope and strength.’
The programme includes in-depth monitoring and evaluation, which provides the ability to track the changes in their circumstances and monitor their wellness, whilst also providing feedback to improve the counselling. To date, over 700 women have participated in groups since the programme was piloted in 2012.
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