Friday, June 25, 2010


Rwanda.Since 1994, the country's name has been synonymous with genocide. The numbers are staggering. Estimates say that up to 500,000 women and girls were raped, tortured and physically abused during the genocide. The impact of these horrors is still felt today, but Rwanda is rebuilding now with the leadership of the women.

Women are paying the highest price.

The deaths of over 800,000 people during the 1994 genocide and the displacement of 2,000,000 more left the country 70% female. Over ⅓ of households are headed by women. And 80% of these are run by impoverished widows.
Women are raising children that are the result of brutal crimes. Many have sexually transmitted diseases – in fact over ¼ million children have been orphaned by AIDS alone. Despite the extreme poverty many Rwandans find room in their hearts to adopt as many as 6 orphaned children, treating every child like their own, a mantra of the country and its President, Paul Kagame.
But the Real Story isn't the Suffering …

It's the Rwandan women's ability to triumph over every obstacle. Because of Rwandan women's courage and willingness to speak, for the first time in history, rape is being prosecuted as a war crime. Previously, in post-genocide Rwanda, rape had been considered a third degree crime. What's more, the election of 2003 put 49% of the parliament seats to women, giving women a voice and a platform in which to use it.
Generous, Caring Support from Women Like You is Bringing Hope and Healing to Rwandan Women.

Women come to our offices like this:
95% of homes have no electricity

98.3% report not having running water in their home

53% of women have only received some primary education

Nearly 30% have received no formal education at all

82% do not speak the official language of Rwanda

After just one year in Women for Women International Programs:

50% of women say their ability to read and write has improved

80% say their economic situation is better

49% of the women plan to start their own business

80% report imrovement in their economic situation

93% of the women feel that their health and their families health has increased

99% say their self-confidence has improved

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Violence against women is a worldwide yet still hidden problem. Freedom from the threat of harassment, battering, and sexual assault is a concept that most of us have a hard time imagining because violence is such a deep part of our cultures and lives.