City of Joy, a Revolutionary Center for Women Survivors of Gender Violence, Celebrates First Graduating Class on January 28 in Bukavu, DRC

Tomorrow, Saturday, January 28, V-Day and the Fondation Panzi (DRC), will celebrate the first gradating 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.

This first class has taken part in a diverse and impactful six-month curriculum that includes: group psychotherapy; self-defense; English; literacy; communications; civic and political education including civil rights; comprehensive sexuality education; massage; physical education, and horticulture. The program was designed by local staff to address the unique emotional, physical, and intellectual needs of Congolese women survivors of gender violence, and to provide them with the tools necessary to return to and thrive in their communities upon graduation.

“Following the six-month program, a marked change in the women is already evident,” said V-Day Congo Director & Director of City of Joy, Christine Schuler Deschryver.  “Upon their arrival the faces of these women showed signs of despair, discouragement, and loneliness.   Over time they have, little by little, been helped to use their past difficulties as a source of empowerment. Through the training and programming at City of Joy, these women have moved from pain to power and will return to their homes ready to help revolutionize their communities.”


The City of Joy is part of a worldwide campaign that was initiated in 2007 to raise awareness about the level of gender violence in the DRC and advocate for change throughout the Congo. Conceived and developed by the women on the ground in partnership with V-Day and the Panzi Fondation (DRC), the construction of the City of Joy began in September 2009 and opened its doors in June 2011.  The second City of Joy class of 90 women is scheduled to begin the program on February 14, 2012.


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About the City of Joy

City of Joy is the next chapter in V-Day’s ongoing campaign, STOP RAPING OUR GREATEST RESOURCE: Power to the Women and Girls of the DRC.  The worldwide campaign was initiated in 2007 to raise worldwide awareness about the level of gender violence in the DRC and advocate for change throughout the Congo. Conceived and developed by the women on the ground in partnership with V-Day and the Panzi Fondation (DRC), the construction of the City of Joy started in September 2009 and opened its doors in June 2011. V-Day has generated significant funding from private foundations and individual donors as well as its vast global network of activists.

About V-Day

V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls that raises funds and awareness through benefit productions of Playwright/Founder Eve Ensler’s award winning play The Vagina Monologues and other artistic works. In 2011, over 5,800 V-Day benefit events took place produced by volunteer activists in the U.S. and around the world, educating millions of people about the reality of violence against women and girls. To date, the V-Day movement has raised over $85 million and educated millions about the issue of violence against women and the efforts to end it, crafted international educational, media and PSA campaigns, reopened shelters, and funded over 13,000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in Democratic Republic Of Congo, Haiti, Kenya, South Dakota, Egypt and Iraq. Over 300 million people have seen a V-Day benefit event in their community. V-Day has received numerous acknowledgements including Worth Magazine’s 100 Best Charities (2001), Marie Claire Magazine’s Top Ten Charities (2006), one of the Top-Rated organizations on Great Nonprofits (2010).

27.01.2012 | par martalanca | Congo, violence, women

Tracks and Traces of Violence

Representation and Memorialisation of Violence in Africa in Art, Literature and Anthropology

The BIGSAS conference ‚Tracks and Traces of Violence – Representation and Memorialisation of Violence in Africa in Art, Literature and Anthropology’ takes place at Iwalewa-House, the Africa Centre of the University of Bayreuth (Germany) from 14th – 16th July 2011.

This conference zooms in on a specific phenomenon: violence. Cultural, social and individual medialization of lived experiences are often shaped and inspired by those violent events. Visual artists and writers from Africa have come to deal with these violent events of the recent past and the present.

By means of artistic practice they, often as both representatives and witnesses, struggle to find ways to engage with the traumas and atrocities of conflict and war of post-colonial African states and attempts towards reconciliation.

This conference discusses and explores tracks and traces of violence in – but not restrictively- artistic and literary practices as well as in anthropological works.


Chris Odhiambo (Eldoret) and Youssef Wahboun (Rabat)

Reading by:

Ungalani Ba Ka Khosa (Maputo)

Further papers & performances by:

Joao Paulo Coelho (Maputo), Rachid El Adouani (Mohammedi), Sandra
Boerngen (Frankfurt), Sélom Komlan Gbanou (Calgary), Susanne Gehrmann
(Berlin), Antoine Hounhouenou (Abomey-Calavi), Johan Jacobs (Durban),
Christopher John (Durban), David Ngoran (Cocody-Abidjan, Strasbourg), Otobong
Nkanga (Kano, Antwerp), Metje Postma (Leiden), Detlev Quintern (Bremen),
Jo Ractliffe (Johannesburg), Corinne Sandwith (Durban), Busolo
Wegesa (Eldoret), Antje Ziethen (Kassel), Samuel Ndogo (Bayreuth)

Organized by BIGSAS-Workgroup Tracks and Traces of Violence:

Viviane Azarian, Katharina Fink, Amber Gemmeke, Moulay Driss El Maarouf, Maroua El Naggare, Samuel Ndogo, Duncan Omanga, Nadine Siegert

Questions can be addressed to:



10.07.2011 | par nadinesiegert | Conference, Iwalewa-Haus, Jo Ractliffe, memory, Otobong Nkanga, violence

Dry, non emotional thrombosis

a bunch of saints went missing in the night
deviant nurses rushed up to the altar
righteous priests having their teeth fixed
two dogs arguing over a molecule in a cellar
a harsh contest. no one watching, though
“can you wash my hands, please?”

this box is full of instruments of disgrace
life is such a needless fragile sacrifice
all gates open, straight through to infinity
try and reach out any soul with a symphony
a wild flower or a hidden bargain, in vain
sordid details: misogyny and flying limbs

a mask cannot speak but it can make you fly
flamingos were the last poets roaming the planet
eloquence, music, pink fur, bended knees, silence
stranded walls, pockets full of lust and flames
the hopeless goddess trying to evoke suicide
a stroke would mend the coldest of the hearts

13.06.2011 | par herminiobovino | violence

Violence, everything at once

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an Albatross is standing at my window
the Albatross says I’m a fantasy collector
a dream chaser collecting disappointment
wandering the vague room of solitude
trying to spit a fish out of my mind
eating alien dreams on an empty stomach

I’ve got wings flying inside my mouth
I’ve got fingers pointing out of my eyes
like everybody else; paying for violence
small ordinary objects. we can’t do that
insects, pills, light bulbs, silhouettes

portraits, “oh!, we look terrible!”
that’s where we stand, no more pictures
a series of flying electric chairs
killing people, political affairs, guns!
can you imagine all that?
paintings of Moses, silver and gloves
an Albatross flying off of my window
not dying, fading far into the distance

02.06.2011 | par herminiobovino | violence