Two years ago, Carleton University student Nadia Kajouji went missing, sparking citywide search efforts.
Six weeks later, the 18-year-old was found dead in the Rideau River. Police investigation revealed that a practical nurse in Minnesota allegedly encouraged the teen to kill herself during online conversations.
To mark the anniversary of her disappearance, Nadia’s brother, Marc Kajouji, came to Ottawa Tuesday as an ambassador for yourlifecounts.org, a charity with the goal of preventing suicide among young people ages 14 to 24.
Yourlifecounts.org — founded in 2000 by Rory Butler — does important work, Kajouji said.
“Suicide among youth is the second leading cause of death in Canada,” Kajouji said. “It’s important to sustain what they are doing, which is saving lives. Not a lot of people know about these resources. Funding has been difficult — it’s been a huge obstacle because people don’t really talk about suicide in general.”
While there are similar services, like telephone hotlines, “the technology is changing and so are the strategies to deal with it,” he said.
The organization saved 28 lives last year.
Although his family is still suffering over the loss of Nadia, Kajouji said the focus now is to prevent this from happening to others.