Tuesday, February 8, 2011

94: The Self-Empowered Woman: Eve Ensler/Congo

Dear Followers,

Last year, Good Housekeeping Magazine named Eve Ensler one of the "125 Women Who Changed Our World." Why? Because among other accomplishments (she is an activist, author, performer, philanthropist and playwright) she created THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, which has been translated into 48 languages and performed in over 140 countries.

Today, Ensler's activist movement (V-Day), which supports anti-violence against women and girls, has joined with UNICEF and Panzi Foundation to establish the City of Joy. Based in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, it will support survivors of sexual violence and help them to heal both physically and emotionally. For many of these women, the center will be their first opportunity to receive an education.

Hundreds of thousands of women have been raped (often violently and sadistically with objects ranging from rifles to wood) by the armed militant groups who travel through Eastern Congo. Three years ago Ensler came up with the idea to create a safe place where women can learn life skills. Her hope is to create "an army of women."

In her words "...when you have enough women in power, they take over the government and they make different decisions. You'll see...they'll put an end to this rape problem fast." City of Joy is a new compound with classrooms where Congolese women (many of whom have been raped more than once) will learn self-defense, farming technology, leadership techniques and computer skills. Google is donating a computer center.

There will be about 200 "leadership recruits" each year, and most of them are illiterate. The center, which cost about $1 million, was partly built by the hands of many of the Congolese women who plan to live there. A former UNICEF official, who admitted that neither diplomacy, academia or the Congolese government had been able to adequately protect women, admitted that "Maybe this is the moment where women on the ground show they can turn this around."

If you would like to support City of Joy, here's the link http://drc.vday.org/city-of-joy

Looking forward to your comments...

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