A new film by students hopes to inspire young people across the nation to stop knife crime. Entitled ‘Lay down your knives’, the film was created in a youth led project with students from South and City College Birmingham and Anderton Park School, who worked with award winning artist/filmmaker and human rights activist, Salma Zulfiqar.
Over 50 students participated to create artwork showing how we can recycle knives and the urgent need to dispose of knives which pose a threat. The students also contributed words for the poem and some of the artwork was turned into animation for the film. During the process many students said they knew someone who had been attacked by knives. The aim of this film is to make the streets safer for everyone so that young people can thrive.
Salma Zulfiqar chose to work with mainly female students, migrants and refugees to lead the way on community safety and peace as girls have an important role to play as community peacemakers.
“Sometimes girls don't feel safe walking in the street. We want to live in peace in our community and I want other students to help us make our community safe. We need young people to share and accept each other and stop street wars with knives.” Skala Abdullah, South and City College student commented.
"In the ARTconnects workshops I learned how we can recycle knives and make useful things for the house and garden” she added.
Skala is leading on the project with her sister Marwa - they fled Iraq 9 months ago with their parents and are starting a new life in the UK and want to contribute to society.
"This project is important for all of us because everybody wants to have good opportunities in life and life in a peaceful place. We hope to inspire young people to stop knife crime," Marwa Abdullah, also a student at South and City College, added.
"I want to send a message to people to always be cautious and take steps to make sure you can stay safe. Peace and love are the most powerful things on Earth”. Eimaan Saghir from Anderton Park School said.
"I learned that we can melt down knives and turn them into a gift, like some jewellery for your mum on Mother’s Day,” Eimaan explained.
"I grew up in Small Heath in Birmingham and I want girls and women to be safe so they can shine in life and access opportunities to help them become peacemakers and leaders in their own right," Salma Zulfiqar said. “Film has the power to make positive change in society and we hope young people will share this film and listen to the lifesaving messages."
The film will be shown at South and City Birmingham College's 8 campus sites to over 6,0000 students, to 600 students at Anderton Park school and at The Princes Trust in Birmingham, as well as being shared on social media and websites. The project is supported by The Princes Trust.