Last month, the Herald ran a front-page story about Racha El-Dib, who is honouring her late sister Nadia’s memory by helping other survivors of domestic violence get their lives back from abusers.
Nadia was killed by an ex-boyfriend, a tragic result of abuse that Racha has struggled to come to grips with since her death earlier this year.
Helping women who feel trapped in a relationship is a way of keeping her sister’s spirit alive, and she has built a relationship with local charity Gems for Gems to help accomplish her goal.
The organization was founded by Jordan Guildford just four years ago but today boasts an ambassador program of volunteers across Alberta, in British Columbia and Nova Scotia all eager to support her in trying to end the cycle of domestic abuse for as many women and their children as possible.
Guildford, along with her sister and brother, grew up in the small town of Scott’s Bay in Nova Scotia on a small hobby farm that at times was not able to provide the family with the bare necessities. But she says there was plenty of humility, kindness and compassion along with big doses of truth, honour and courage; principles by which she has tried to live her life.
After moving to Calgary she was surprised to be invited to a dinner party where guests were asked to pick a ‘wish’ from a Christmas tree to find that kids were asking for $100 and more.
And that was just for children. So Guildford asked, “what about the mothers?” Finding there was no program for less-fortunate mothers she remembered a Christmas at home when she and her siblings pooled their money to buy their mother a little piece of jewelry.
She says her mother was so touched, she disappeared for a while and came back into the room with her hair done and lipstick on because she felt so good.
That memory caused Guildford to start collecting gently used jewelry to give to women in shelters. She tried leaving a collection box at a prominent recreation centre but was refused. Undaunted, she knocked on other doors and was welcomed by an Orange Theory Fitness location, and “they were all over it.”
Trainers helped promote the cause to their classes, and that first Christmas, Guildford and her husband Tommy along with a couple of friends were able to fill 436 little bags of jewelry and deliver them to women in …read more