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City of Joy Celebrates First Graduating Class!

On January 28, V-Day and the Fondation Panzi (DRC) celebrated the first graduating class of City of Joy in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). City of Joy, a revolutionary community for women survivors of gender violence, opened its doors to the pilot class of 42 women this summer. V-Day Founder/Artistic Director Eve Ensler, Executive Director Susan Swan, Communications & Campaigns Manager Kate Fisher, photographer and long time V-Activist Paula Allen, and a delegation of incredible visionaries including V-Board members Pat Mitchell, Emily Scott Pottruck, and Amy Rao, and supporters Lauren Davis, Frannie Kieschnick, Belinda Munoz, Andrew Dew Steele, Erin Strain, and Marsha Williams all were welcomed at City of Joy to witness and celebrate the graduation ceremony of this first incredible class. Eve has written a note to all of you about the miracles that were witessed at the graduation, please read:

Dearest Activists,
I am rejoicing, breathing in the victory and glorious time in Bukavu, the joy and aliveness in the expressions of the women of City of Joy, the music of their rising, the intensity of their recovery and the aliveness of their dreams. I want to thank each one of you for making this happen. I want to thank you for your time and devotion and brilliance and faith and work and love. I want to do a special shout for our Mama Christine [V-Day Congo Director & Director of City of Joy Christine Schuler Deschryver] who birthed City of Joy with her might and heart and Mama Bachu [City of Joy Programs Director] who focused her energy and Mama care of our girls, and Dr. Mukwege whose love and gentleness and vision surrounds all things. I want to thank the wondrous team at City of Joy who with such care and attention loved 41 women back to life. Thank you everyone of you who made this miracle possible--who believed in the women of Congo, who know that miracles happen when you value and trust and support and nurture and get out of the way. We need your support and your faith until the rising...

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READ: CNN Covers City of Joy Graduation: "Congolese Women Graduate From Inaugural Rape Survival Class"

On January 28, City of Joy's first graduation made the homepage of CNN! Read the piece, "Congolese Women Graduate From Inaugural Rape Survival Class" by Faith Karimi here >

All Photos by Paula Allen for V-Day

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