Nov, 07, 2016

The stories are hard to hear.

For over 13 years, since I came to Canada from Nigeria, I have been working with women as a counsellor, shelter manager, advocate and now as the Executive Director of The Redwood. And yet I still have a hard time hearing the stories of the women and children who come to The Redwood to find a safe haven.

I never want it to be easy to hear their stories. Each woman’s story deserves to be honoured. If it becomes easy to hear their stories, we risk not working as hard as we must to provide a safe haven where they can escape their horrors.

So while I bear witness to their pain, I also celebrate the courage and am humbled by the strength I see each day. I am also humbled by the support our community shows our clients. With every donation and every hour of volunteerism, you are demonstrating your belief that the women who walk through our door MATTER. You are putting your belief into action: that ending the cycle of violence for women and children MATTERS.

It is not easy to come to work each day knowing that I may hear more difficult stories as new families seek safety from violence. It’s even more difficult when there is no room available for women needing support. So if you are new to our community,  I hope you will consider making a donation – to keep women and their children safe, to help them begin to overcome the trauma of violence and get back on their feet and rebuild the lives of themselves and their children.

You may not realize it, but your support does so much more than protecting women and children from violence or providing healthy lunches or books to kids. Each time you make a donation or volunteer your time, you reinforce that they are not alone. You remind us that we are a community that has come together to participate in something bigger than any one of us can accomplish alone. Your support MATTERS… for the shelter and safety it provides and for the message of hope and community it sends to the women and children who need protection.

I left Nigeria where I practiced human rights law. While much progress was made in social justice issues while I lived in Nigeria, the big difference here in Canada is that I can practice social justice work freely. FREELY. That’s the most important word to me. Supporters like you reinforce to me that Canada is a place where social justice is valued. While we have much work to do to end violence against women, we can do that work freely here. And together with your support, we will continue to support the women and children who need help.

As the Executive Director, I am grateful for a community of supporters who help change lives. Thank you for making a difference.

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