The Vagina Monologues author Eve Ensler has opened an educational community called “City of Joy” in the Democratic Republic of Congo–tackling the ongoing problem of sexual violence and rape in the region.
According to The New York Times, the author raised $1 million for the project from V-Day, Unicef, and Google. The video embedded above shows Congolese women building City of Joy’s facilities. Located in the city of Bukavu, the new retreat will shelter 180 women (mostly past victims of rape) every year. Workers at City of Joy will teach about activism, human rights, self-defense, computer operation, and many other subjects. Ensler hopes these women will return to their home towns and serve as leaders.
Here’s an Ensler quote, from the article: “You build an army of women. And when you have enough women in power, they take over the government and they make different decisions. You’ll see. They’ll say ‘Uh-uh, we’re not taking this any longer,’ and they’ll put an end to this rape problem fast.”
In 2010, Ensler released the book I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World. The book contained short narratives about the inner lives of contemporary girls. The author also helped launch the V-Girls.org to build community and organize book clubs.