This week we watched women survivors telling their truth, standing up to power, moving from victims to survivors to leaders. The women at City of Joy in the DR Congo are in solidarity with survivors all over the world every day turning pain into power. We share this piece today in honor of brave women everywhere who have broken the silence and joined a movement of sisters to heal themselves and the world.
Eve has just returned from the City of Joy in Bukavu after two, long awaited years. Traveling along with photojournalist Paula Allen, the two documented their trip as they reunite with Co-founder and Director of City of Joy and V-Day Congo Christine Schuler Deschryver, and detail the changes that have taken place, both on the land, and in the resilient hearts and spirits of the women of the City of Joy.
Here is a small snapshot of the larger piece: (to read the full piece, click here)
1117 women have graduated.
They have gone on to:
lead in their communities
run farm collectives
go to school
recruit other women for City of Joy
live at V-World Farm now and work as farmers
demand their rights
become nurses, teachers, herbalists, social workers,
refuse men who are not their equals.
Girls have turned the stones in their hearts and pasts into flowers.
A meditation hut has been erected where the perfect breeze wafts through layers of stunning tapestry… There are silent zones to pause and reflect and feel peace.
There are 200 farmers and workers employed, 300 families are living off a gifted piece of land. The surrounding community is part of the project…the food feeds the girls at City of Joy.
Victims have become survivors who have become leaders.
This is the new paradigm manifested on earth. A world where staff are filled with so much joy they literally stop their morning, take off their shoes to dance. Where crying is invited, where ideas are expansive, where love is the central verb. City of Joy is the diamond in the rough. The rising citadel in the center of war and brokenness. Where the radiance of those who have turned their suffering into power spreads in all direction, Where miracles are catalyzed by the transfiguration of pain into joy.
Words by Eve Ensler, Images by Paula Allen.
READ the full piece >
TAKE ACTION, Turn Pain Into Power:
City of Joy is the subject of a feature length documentary film just out on Netflix. The film CITY OF JOY follows the first class of women and weaves their journey as burgeoning leaders with that of the center’s founders (Dr. Denis Mukwege, Christine Schuler-Deschryver and Eve Ensler) – three individuals who imagined a place where women who have suffered horrific rape and abuse can heal and become powerful voices of change for their country. WATCH the CITY OF JOY Documentary Film, PLAN a House Party or a Community Screening of the documentary film CITY OF JOY, DOWNLOAD the Screening Guide. SPREAD THE WORD On Social Media.