AVEGAAssociation des Veuves du Génocide Agahozo
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In contrast to the fictional Murekatete, Esther becomes part of AVEGA and helps others to come to terms with their trauma, not only by encouraging them to tell their stories, but in supporting them in their physical and social needs.
27) She describes AVEGA as a "forum" in which "individual suffering" (souffrances individuelles) is expressed through "collective voices" (voix collectives), and the "individual me supported by the collective us", who are in turn represented by a collective story (le moi individuelest soutenu par le nous collectif, Gallimore 15, 19).
For the purpose of this article I will draw on data from interviews and follow-up interviews conducted with representatives from AVEGA and a group interview with four beneficiaries.
The main objectives of AVEGA include: providing holistic support for widows and orphans of the genocide; promoting solidarity between members; remembering the victims of the genocide; and playing a role in the reconciliation of the country.
The women turned to AVEGA for support in the aftermath of the genocide.
The work of AVEGA would not typically be understood as a form of post-conflict community justice.
The ICTR's reliance on NGOs increased in 1999 when the Victims and Gender Support Unit directed NGOs operating in Rwanda (including HAGURUKA, AVEGA, Rwanda Women Network and its social network ASOFERWA, and Pro-Femmes) "to provide services in legal guidance, psychological and medical rehabilitation and other forms of assistance, such as resettlement, to victims and witnesses.
AVEGA was set up to help generate funds to meet some of their needs, as well as to provide trauma counseling and press for justice.
In a historically patriarchal society, AVEGA has helped to achieve legal reforms that, for the first time, gave Rwandan women inheritance rights, established rape as an act of genocide and defined other crimes of sexual violence as serious crimes.
Headquartered in Kigali, Rwanda, AVEGA Agahozo provides services across the country and includes among its members more than 20,000 widows and more than 71,000 dependents and orphans.
AVEGA pushed for reform, lobbying lawmakers, judges and journalists until a law was passed in November 1999 allowing widows the right to inherit a husband's property.