13 Jul Joy! 19th Class of City of Joy Graduates, Turning Pain to Power
City of Joy is a revolutionary leadership center for women survivors of gender violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, co-founded by Christine Schuler Deschryver (City of Joy Director and Director of V-Day Congo), Dr. Denis Mukwege (Nobel Laureate and Founder of the Panzi Hospital), and V (formerly Eve Ensler, Founder of V-Day and One Billion Rising, playwright and activist).
Eighty seven women graduated from 19th class at City of Joy on 29 June. Some of the staff from the Panzi Foundation participated in the graduation. Prince Dadju, a French musician born from Congolese parents, visited. Through his Give Back Charity, Dadju advocates for Congolese women’s rights and has sung for the Congolese women who are survivors of violence. He has praised their strengths to transcend hardships. He came to Panzi Foundation to renew his fight against any form of violence against women. He participated in the graduation ceremony at City of Joy and promised to never stop talking about the problem and consequences of violence against women in DRC in general, and that of east DRC in particular.
The day of the graduation resonated differently for each graduate who has spent 6 months of healing, learning, and empowering themselves at the City of Joy. Together, these 87 women celebrated their victory over trauma. Following graduation, they will reintegrate into their communities with power and vision to take up space and make a difference. They rejoin their communities as strong, thriving women who are determined to lead.
Since January 2021, these women whose violence was close to their heart walked a journey amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which beyond its consequences on women and children, has become devastating and entails significant social and economic costs. The therapeutic ingredients they received have brought excitement to join their villages.
For some women, their graduation means getting to break out forms of violence they survived and being the mouthpiece of women who still live under the yoke of violence in their homes and communities. The graduating class was special in such a way that during their stay and healing process, they worked on their own liberation and inner forces to make change happen in their villages. One of them declared that she felt as if she was blind when she came, but the training she received at the City of Joy opened her eyes and mind and taught her to be self-reliant and share her abilities with other women who did not have the chance to be knowledgeable of their duties and rights.
We thank all our supporters,
We thank all our friends, and US V-DAY team
We thank V (Formerly Eve Ensler), and
We thank the City of Joy staff for your support and belief in the City of Joy Project
July 1st 2021
Christine Schuler Deschryver