Genocide Survivors


Widowhood in Rwanda

The close of the Rwandan Genocide in 1994 ended a 100-day massacre of Tutsi and Hutu men and women, leaving over 800,000 dead. Studies have revealed that one in ten Rwandans died during the genocide.

With few male survivors, Rwanda became a nation comprised of more women than men. The scars of trauma these women carry are tragic and inspiring. Surviving unimaginable horrors, they witnessed their husbands, children, and friends brutally killed and their homes burned to the ground.

During the genocide, women were raped while friends were forced to stand by defenselessly as their enemies condoned and applauded the violence.
One widow says female survivors were left to “die of sadness.”


Healing Through Weaving

Following the genocide, widows were left to create a new life for themselves. With their husbands dead, the widows from the warring Tutsi and Hutu tribes gathered together to make peace.
By weaving baskets together, the widows found healing through a
centuries-old piece of Rwandan culture—basket weaving.

Now, more than 25 years post-genocide, Rwandan widows continue to live in extreme poverty; many subsist on $1.25 or less a day to feed and shelter themselves and their children.
However, these women are slowly rebuilding
their lives, homes, and nation.

Although Rwandan women have experienced what some would call "a fate worse than death,"
​the Rafiki Foundation continues to help them restore their lives through our Widows Program and to present them with the life-giving Word of God through daily Bible study. Supporting these widows and their families is our privilege and passion.


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