PROJECT SWITCH: KNIFE CRIME POEM Knife crime, done time, a little ego boost and that’s fine. 21,365 only in London alone I promise you there are more attacks closer to home. One knife ready to end one life just to settle some beef that was online. A few seconds is all it takes, but is that a decision for you to make? You can never replace a soul on this earth, even if the value of them to you is dirt – they are a mother or a husband or a wife. Every single one a precious, sacred life. “Doing it for the gang’’ Are you really doing it for the gang if it is a matter that can be settled over a simple shaken hand? …A shaken hand to prevent a family of mourning. Sana Imran On Monday 30th April 2018, a team of students participating in the “Legacy” programme hosted a charity dinner to raise money and awareness for the homeless. Legacy is an optional project offered by the school in Year 12 as a way for students to give back to their community and allows them to focus on developing a social action project to combat a local issue of their choice. The team had previously done bake sales within school, which proved incredibly successful. Project Reform hosted a successful fundraising evening at the award-winning restaurant “Eurasia” which is owned by Shamim Haque, the father of one of the team members, Abdul Haque. Award-winning Chef Amjad Ali (crowned the best in Indian cuisine with the Tommy Miah Best Chef Award) served a special menu to all guests that evening – the food was some of the best the students had ever tasted. The evening began with all students arriving at the venue to be greeted in a hospitable manner by all the staff; they made sure the students were comfortable, providing free drinks, and overall making the event a pleasant experience. Customers came from all over the West Midlands, ranging from Wolverhampton to Shropshire, and included the guests of honour the Mayor and Mayoress of Bridgnorth, Councillor Ron Whittle and Cllr. Mrs Carol Whittle. The people were incredibly generous in their donations, with local school Brockton C of E Primary managing to raise £64 to support the cause. We received a great reception from the customers, who were eager to support the homeless as they often came over and talked to us about our project. Hannah Qadeer, Aadam Zaman and Abdul Haque went round to the different tables and managed to sell a great number of raffle tickets to the kind people of Bridgnorth. The first-place prize was a £40 voucher for the restaurant, second prize was a basket of chocolates and the third prize was an expensive bottle of champagne. After starters had been served, Suhaib Hamad, Abdul Haque and team leader Britney Okhiria stood up to do a speech thanking the restaurant and its staff, while also spreading awareness about homelessness in a snappy two-minute presentation. Donations were beginning to flood in from the guests with Mayor Whittle gifting the team £40. As people began to leave, they came round to thank us for the evening and expressed their support for our cause, eager to help us in any way possible. In total, the students managed to raise around £804 from the evening which will be used to provide care bags for one hundred homeless people in Birmingham, providing them with the essential tools to survive. We would like to say thank you to “Eurasia” for hosting the evening, and to all the staff for providing a hospitable environment for the team. Thank you to David Masih and Shamim Haque for providing transport to and from the restaurant. Project Reform Members: Britney Okhiria (Team Leader), Hannah Qadeer (Deputy Team Leader), Abdul Haque (Secretary), Aadam Zaman, Ibrahim Kabir, Samadul Chowdhry, Brandon Masih and Suhaib Hamad. KNIVES COST LIVES A single stab wound. That’s sometimes all it takes to take a life. The West Midlands has seen the biggest increase in knife crime outside London. There has been an 11% increase since last year. The BBC’s EastEnders is currently raising awareness of this issue with a hard-hitting storyline revealing the scale of this problem, particularly among the younger generation. Ozell Pemberton, 16, was a victim. His murder took place on a sunny afternoon at 3:30 pm just outside McDonald’s in Sutton Coldfield. The bus stop where he was killed is a place which is all too familiar to local teenagers including myself. A child killing another child. The accused is only 17 years old. Reading about this case brings to life the feelings I had in my primary years. A park, a setting where we as a family would create memories on long summer days, was now a murder scene. A teenager was stabbed and tragically died. I see Project Legacy as an opportunity to make an impact on the community by focusing on knife crime. My passion to change attitudes and find solutions is fuelled at every meeting of Legacy. We dedicate our time to try to make an impact on the community. If we can make just one person put down their knife than we have achieved. Sana Imran PROJECT REFORM – RESTAURANT FUNDRAISER 35