City of Joy is a transformational leadership community for women survivors of violence, located in Bukavu, in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a region plagued by an ongoing proxy war for the area’s vast mineral resources. Since opening in 2011, 1472 women have graduated from the CITY OF JOY, healed themselves, been nurtured, learned new skills, empowered themselves and joined into a network of love and revolution. These women have released massive trauma and horrific memories. They have danced, sung, learned their rights, performed plays, developed agricultural skills, come to love their bodies. They have become leaders in their communities. They are no longer stigmatized for being raped.
These women are forces of energy and determination, entrepreneurs of small businesses, initiators of collectives, restaurants owners, farmers with new land, educators and advocates on sexual violence, volunteers in a self-created recruiting network for new women at the center, journalists, immigration workers, tailors, students, herbalists, and more. 42 graduates are employed at V-World Farm, a large sustainable farm run by V-Day Congo.
City of Joy serves 90 survivors of gender violence aged 18 to 30 at a time.