HERE'S THE STORY:
In 2007, many of us first read Pulitzer prize winning reporter Jeffrey Gettleman's article about the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the impact that war was having on women. The atrocities being committed against women and girls in the Congo, where over half a million have been brutally raped and mutilated moved us to come to together as friends, sisters and mothers. We created the Women of the Congo Benefit first held in 2008 and you can read more about our journey.
Over these past five years Eve Ensler and her organization V-Day have built and opened City of Joy in the DRC. This is a revolutionary community for women survivors that serves 180 women a year with innovative programs that provide resources and support for women survivors of rape to rebuild and transform their lives.
Today the City of Joy is thriving. In so many ways, the City of Joy is V-Day’s philosophy in action – it is a project in constant motion, born from the vision of local women survivors, run by Congolese, and grounded in the central tenet that community and love can be transformational, especially for those who have seemingly lost everything.
The vision for the City of Joy is big. Over the next five years the goal is to see one thousand women graduate from the program, healed emotionally from their trauma, and armed with valuable life skills. We know that from this group incredible leaders are already emerging – women who will not only shape the destiny of Congo’s future, but will play a pivotal role in the global movement to end gender violence. This is the first graduating class that completed the program in August 2012.
Please join our group and Eve Ensler on Thursday, October 11th at Michael Howard Studios, The Professional Acting Studio for Theatre, Film, and Television.
V-Day founder and playwright Eve Ensler, and actress Glenn Close are attending our 4th Women of the Congo Benefit.
The evenings proceeds will go to V-Day’s City of Joy, a community that provides support for women survivors to rebuild their lives. If you cannot attend, please consider a doantion by clicking here:
O, The Oprah Magazine reporting on Women of the Congo benefit.
"Many women who are raped are told to keep quiet. Often, it is a shame for the entire family, and many rape victims have been kicked out of their villages and turned into beggars….Everywhere you look, something is broken: a railing, a window, a pickup cruising around with no fenders, a woman trudging along the road with no eyes. The Congolese government admits it is at a loss, especially in keeping women safe.''
-Jeffrey Gettleman, New York Times reporter and winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting
Women of the Congo NYC Benefit YouTube link. Our first benefit was attended by over 400 supporters and raised $150,000. Our second benefit attended by Whoopi Goldberg drew over 500 supporters and we raised $123,000. Funds raised were donated to Congo focused charities. Clip filmed by David Yim.
Thank you for opening your hearts. We appreciate the deep generosity and inspiring social conscience of the artists donating pieces to this cause that will be shown and offered for sale.
Thank you Michael Howard Studios,The Professional Acting Studio for Theatre, Film, and Television for generously donating your space and time to help host the event.
Special thanks to the friends that together form the WOC planning committee.