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On 21 June, 89 women of the 13th class were honored as they celebrated their completion of a 6-month healing and leadership program at City of Joy. These women have been honored for their courage for overcoming their pain, and for their resilience and determination. These women have gone to reestablish themselves as independent women who have the skills to take control of their lives, and return to their communities as leaders.

The graduating women testify that they have become knowledgeable of their rights. They were determined to “use their knowledge and their heart to stand up for those who can’t stand, speak for those who can’t speak, be a beacon of light for those whose lives have become dark, fight the good fight against violence in their homes and society, be a part of all that is good and decent, and be ambassadors for the kind of world they want to live in.”


“What a victory and achievement to witness thousands of young Congolese women Rising from the ashes in their glory and power to reimagine the country and world. Heart bursting with pride, love and deepest respect for my sister comrade friend leader Christine Schuler Deschryver and the whole team of healers teachers and visionaries who give their lives for this transformation!! #WomenTakingBackTheWorld” – Eve Ensler

Over 1100 women leaders have graduated from City of Joy since it began. A revolutionary, transformational leadership community for women survivors of violence, City of Joy is conceived, owned, and run by local Congolese. Amidst an active conflict zone, it has flourished since it first opened its doors in June 2011, healing women from their past trauma through therapy and life skills programming while providing them with the essential ingredients needed to move forward in life – love and community.

“We are proud to have helped mend lives and connect bodies after separation. We are proud to have sown seeds of revolution.” – VDAY DRCongo

Watch a short video from Christine:

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