_Aliya

I was put into care when I was young and had to grow up very quickly. By the time I was 12, I was hanging around with older people who carried knives. I never carried myself, but I liked the feeling of safety from being around people who did.

When I was 15, I saw someone I knew get stabbed repeatedly right in front of me by a group of guys. I heard later that he was killed in the attack. This affected me very deeply and I began to think about the risks of carrying a knife.

I swore then that I would never pick up a knife, and decided to stay away from friends who carried. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I felt I had no other option after seeing how quickly things had got out of control that night.

Now I concentrate on getting my message out to others through dancing and work as a youth ambassador. By helping other young girls to express themselves and make the right choices, I am able to put the past behind me.

Aliya in her room

_#knifefree

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