19 Jul WE HAVE BECOME MAKERS OF CHANGE! 23rd Class Graduates from the City of Joy [NEWSLETTER]
WE HAVE BECOME MAKERS OF CHANGE
23RD CLASS GRADUATES FROM THE CITY OF JOY
On 23 June, City of Joy celebrated its 23rd graduation! 85 joyous women who have turned their pain to power. 1987 graduates to date. They are change makers returning to their villages, becoming businesswomen, teachers, journalists, non-profit leaders, artists, creators, following their dreams and vision. Congratulations to V-Day Congo Director and Co-founder/Director of City of Joy Christine Schuler Deschryver and the team at City of Joy and to all of the graduates!
A REPORT ON THE GRADUATION: Since January, a group of 85 women survivors of sexual and gender-based violence have been sheltered at the City of Joy, the revolutionary center in the Democratic Republic of Congo, for training in emotional healing and leadership skills development.
The graduation marked a breaking turning point, where after six months of training and healing, laughing and smiling, dancing and dressing wounds, and embracing and counseling, we could place our hopes in 85 women who, as one of them said, are needed to make change happen in the DRC.
The 23rd class transformed their pain into power, releasing their suffering and investing in the reconstruction of their lives. These women have actually transcended what they have been through. They have learned to break the silence. They have acquired power to break the glass ceiling. They have knowledge to demand their rights. They are true citizens who will cast a useful vote.
“We have become makers of change. The six months spent in the City of Joy has transformed us into people capable of changing paradigms, opposing retrograde customs, denouncing evil and breaking the silence in complete freedom. Our lifeline must now bear more flowers than stones.”
– Spokeswoman for the 23rd class, City of Joy
“The six months spent with the women is proof that transformation is possible, hope is possible in the DRC, and that change will come from the bottom/base and never from the top. She called on the Congolese women to create a society where violence against women is not tolerated – not tolerated in families, by the police, and by the justice system. We should make the violence against women an emergency so as to erase violence from our culture – from schools, from workplaces, everywhere.”
– Christine Schuler Deschryver, Co-Founder and Director, City of Joy
Bukavu, 23 June 2023
A woman who comes through the City of Joy is forever changed by it.
She laughs more, she leads more, she gives more.
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).
Photos: Carlos Schuler