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City of Joy To Hold Opening Celebration

CITY OF JOY, a Revolutionary New Center for Congolese Women Survivors of Gender Violence to Hold Opening Celebration Friday - Saturday, Feb 4 & 5

V-Day Founder Eve Ensler, UN Messenger of Peace and V-Day supporter Charlize Theron, US Ambassador on Global Women's Issues Melanne Verveer, UN Special Envoy Margot Wallstrom, V-Day Board Member Rosario Dawson, V-Day Supporters Dylan McDermott and Thandie Newton, Congolese Ambassador to the US Faida Mitifu, UNICEF DRC Representative a.i. Philippe Heffinck, AIDS Free World Co-Founder Stephen Lewis, V-Day Congo Director/Director of City of Joy Christine Schuler Deschryver, Panzi Hospital's Dr. Denis Mukwege to attend opening in Bukavu, DRC

City Of Joy Offers New Platform And Vision For Congolese Women To Pursue Peace In The DRC

What: Fondation Panzi (DRC), women of the Congo, and V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls, with support from UNICEF,will come together to celebrate the opening of the City of Joy, a revolutionary new community where Congolese women survivors of gender violence will have the opportunity to heal and develop their leadership through innovative programming. Through its unique model, conceived, created, and developed by the women on the ground, the City of Joy will provide up to 180 women a year with an opportunity to benefit from group therapy; storytelling; dance; theater; self-defense; comprehensive sexuality education (covering HIV/AIDS, family planning); ecology and horticulture; technology and media; and economic empowerment. During the opening day, an organized summit of Congolese women will present their needs and demands to the world.

Who: V-Day Founder Eve Ensler, UN Messenger of Peace and V-Day supporter Charlize Theron, US Ambassador on Global Women's Issues Melanne Verveer, UN Special Envoy on Sexual Violence in Conflict Margot Wallstrom, V-Day Board Member Rosario Dawson, V-Day Supporters Dylan McDermott and Thandie Newton, Congolese Ambassador to the US Faida Mitifu, UNICEF DRC Representative a.i. Philippe Heffinck, AIDS Free World Co-Founder Stephen Lewis, V-Day Congo Director/Director of City of Joy Christine Schuler Deschryver, Panzi Hospital's Dr. Denis Mukwege, Global Green USA President Matt Petersen and Global Green Director, former Board Chair and V-Day Board Chair Pat Mitchell who directed the Mayo's fly-in of doctors and operating room facilities to the site and helped sponsor the water supply provision.

Where: Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo

When: Friday, February 4, 2011

For press inquiries, photos and more information, contact:

Kate Fisher/V-Day, +1 917-291-3081, kate (at) vday.org

Jen Hirsch, Group SJR, +1 646-495-9723, vday (at) groupsjr.com

Why: This global event seeks to bring together grassroots activists, political leaders and stakeholders with residents and staff of City of Joy to create a sustainable path towards the health and empowerment of Congolese women.

The opening of City of Joy marks a momentous phase of V-Day’s STOP RAPING OUR GREATEST RESOURCE: Power To The Women and Girls of the DRC global campaign. Initiated in 2007, the campaign has been raising global awarenessabout the level of gender violence in the DRC and advocating for change throughout Congo. City of Joy is the beginning of what V-Day believes will be a powerful new platform for Congolese women, from which they can steer Eastern Congo’s destiny towards peace. It is the creation of a new template and vision where women turn their pain to power, restoring their sense of agency over their lives, and connecting them to the continuously expanding and evolving global V-Day movement.

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 2010, over 5,400 V-Day benefit events took place produced by volunteer activists in the U.S. and around the world. To date, the V-Day movement has raised over $80 million and educated millions about the issue of violence against women and the efforts to end it, crafted international educational, media and PSA campaigns, launched the Karama program in the Middle East, reopened shelters, and funded over 12,000 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. In 2001, V-Day was named one of Worth Magazine's "100 Best Charities," in 2006 one of Marie Claire Magazine's Top Ten Charities, and in 2010 was named as one of the Top-Rated organizations on Great Nonprofits. www.vday.org

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