Origins of the City of Joy

Photos: Paula Allen for V-Day

When V (formerly Eve Ensler) first travelled to Eastern DRC in 2007 on invitation from Dr. Denis Mukwege of Panzi Hospital to meet with and learn from women survivors of violence, she was most interested in knowing what solutions they felt would work in the face of such horrible violence. It was these women who birthed the idea of the City of Joy, saying what they most wanted was a place to live in community so that they could heal – in essence, they wanted a place to turn their pain to power. And so the City of Joy was born. Under the leadership of Christine Schuler Deschryver, construction for the City of Joy began in August 2009, down the road from Panzi Hospital.

V-Day opened the City of Joy with a high-profile ceremony in February 2011 and the first class of women began in June 2011.

>> Vagina Warrior Program
>> Life at the City of Joy
>> Why It’s Needed
>> Why Congo?
>> Program Philosophy: What Makes it Different
>> What Does the City of Joy Look Like?