Survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, now the winner of the Women’s Creativity in Rural Life Award.
Odette Kayirere is one of the founders of AVEGA, an organisation set up shortly after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda to help the many widows and orphans left traumatised and destitute. Odette herself lost her husband and was left with six daughters to raise. Despite her own difficulties, she went on to adopt several more orphans and set about organising small solidarity groups for widows. Soon AVEGA (Association des Veuves du Genocide Agahozo) came into being and Odette generated a range of activities to help women and children deeply traumatised by the genocide - counselling, the construction of houses, the opening of schools and health centres and other projects such as bee keeping. Now her innovation and courage has been recognised by the Women’s World Summit Foundation and she became one of ten laureates awarded the 2009 prize for Women’s Creativity in Rural Life.
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