The 17th Women’s Leadership Training Session at the City of Joy is a very special session. It is a session in which residents have not only been transformed by the ingredients of therapy and leadership but have also gained missionary knowledge.
For six months, 89 residents of the City of Joy received training in psycho-therapeutic care that helped them heal their trauma caused by the atrocities they had survived. Some arrived desperate, others angry. But from the beginning of their stay, they began to heal and cultivate a new life. By giving up everything that contributed to their imbalance, they were given a solid foundation of self-empowerment, independence, and resilience to rebuild their lives.
The six months that these women spent with their sisters and mamas unfolded as the pandemic of Covid-19 killed hundreds of thousands around the world. The City of Joy had its greatest victory in transforming the lives of 89 women who were resilient, courageous, optimistic and above all determined reach the end of the mission despite the turmoil that Covid-19 brought. The City of Joy has moved forward with 89 women who believe in success despite the threat of an invisible enemy in the region.
In the pursuit of its mission, the City of Joy has developed strategies that demonstrate boldness, risk-taking to succeed and perseverance. Its staff has proven its dedication during this period of the pandemic. To achieve the objectives, 50% of the staff confined themselves with the residents at the City of Joy from March 23, 2020 onward to continue and complete the program. The staff worked during the day and part of the night to: tell stories with the residents; help them draw their lifelines and build the pillars of their lives; practice meditation and contemplation techniques and communicate with Mother Earth; knit, crochet and concentrate on sewing; and to do the art of cooking and learn healthy eating techniques. The residents played a great responsibility in the achievement of the objectives; they took ownership of their training and organized the closing ceremony by working on the key message they wanted to convey in relation to the mission they have to accomplish in their respective communities.
Session 17 gave a double mission to its residents. 89 women went to their villages as leaders and missionaries. They are leaders who will revolutionize the retrograde mentalities and practices that annihilate the development of women at all levels. They are missionaries because of the Covid-19 pandemic. They join communities that do not believe in the existence of Covid-19. They join communities that are building myths around the pandemic. They are reaching out to communities that are not sensitized against Covid-19. These women have been equipped since the declaration of a state of emergency in the DRC after the first cases of Covid-19 had been reported to understand its mode of transmission and prevention. They are going to give back what they experienced during three months of lockdown at City of Joy. They will help their communities to practice preventive measures and to respect physical/social distancing. They have joined their communities with tools and knowledge to play the role of community liaison agents, sensitizers and coaches to contribute effectively to the efforts in the response against Covid-19 in view of the dazzling situation of the pandemic in DRC.
We are proud of these leaders, who recovered their true potential.
We are proud to have journeyed with a dedicated team to reach the expected results of the training and healing of 89 women despite the trying circumstances that the pandemic brought.
We are thankful and really grateful to V (Eve Ensler) and to V-Day, who trusted us and accepted our decision to continue our program while most of the NGOs in our area closed their doors and expats left the country.
We are thankful to our donors and supporters.
Let’s keep raising the vibration!
Christine Schuler Deschryver
June 15th 2020