The frequency of knife and gun crimes in London has spiralled over the years. The shooting of a teenager last week took the toll of young people murdered in the capital to 123. It is also estimated that up to 400 people fall victims to knife and gun crimes in a month. These shocking figures are only a fraction of the effect this is having on families, our society and most of all, young people.
Someone who knows too well the detrimental effects of knife and gun crime is Yvonne Lawson, who tragically lost her son – Godwin Lawson to knife crime in 2010. Yvonne has since turned that pain to philanthropy, setting up the Godwin Lawson Foundation (GLF) in memory of her son. The Godwin Lawson Foundation aims to raise awareness of the positive role that sport and education can have in challenging gang culture and the use of weapons as a status symbol. This foundation is of great importance because it actively tries to tackle issues amongst young people that usually lead to knife and gun crimes. Yvonne is a strong and amazing woman who has made it her mission to stop other mothers from experiencing the same pain. We give Yvonne the chance to tell her story….
Why did you start the Godwin Lawson Foundation?
After the death of my son Godwin Lawson, I found out that he was part of the Haringey Youth Empowerment Program and had pledged against carrying a knife. This discovery deeply touched me and I felt the need to pursue the campaign Godwin had started.
Also, over a thousand people attended his funeral and l wanted to use his popularity to change lives. The foundation keeps and will continue to keep Godwin’s memory and legacy alive, and knowing that I can help to prevent other mothers from experiencing this ordeal, is satisfying for me.
Aside from tacking issues relating to knife crime, what other areas does the Godwin Lawson Foundation aim to make a difference in?
The Godwin Lawson Foundation aims to educate, inform and enlighten parents and carers about the everyday challenges their children are likely to encounter. We teach the parents various ways in which they can overcome such challenges. The foundation also helps in areas such as the education system and the curriculum, to give them a better understanding of how to teach their children.
What does the Godwin Lawson Leadership Programme entail?
The leadership programme works with young people who have been identified as being at risk. The programme enables them to explore their behaviour and attitudes, develop new skills and re-focus their energies on their talents. It empowers young people to make positive choices and helps to increase their communication skills.
Under the leadership program is the Football tournament. This activity promote unity because young people from different areas come together to enjoy the game. This is effective because it helps in combating postcode and rivalry issues. The tournament is done in partnership with Tottenham Hotspur who often presents a player to aspire the young people.
What contributions has the Godwin Lawson Foundation made towards the reduction of knife crime?
Godwin’s story and the foundation have caused several young people and leaders to reflect and take positive actions within their communities. We have convinced every young person involved in the foundation to pledge against carrying a knife. We also have a number of young people that act as peace ambassadors; so hopefully, there will be a lot of peace ambassadors in our society in the years to come.
How can people get involved with the Foundation and its projects?
The foundation is currently looking for volunteers who can help in various areas, especially, peace ambassadors. We would appreciate any enquiry and help, please contact us via http://www.godwinlawson.org.uk/contact-us/ or email: email@example.com if interested.
What do you think about the Ghana UK Based Achievement (GUBA) Awards?
I think GUBA awards is an incredible project with an overwhelming community spirit. To recognise, acknowledge and reward individual and business’ achievements is a very
powerful tool in empowering the community. Recognising talents and gifts also raises aspirations. Together, I am sure we can create a safer London and build a generation of peace.
Knife and gun crimes affect society greatly and will only change if we decide to do something about it. The Godwin Lawson Foundation is a great initiative that is making a difference and changing attitudes of the young people involved. We are especially impressed with the drive and work of Yvonne Lawson and hope that she continues to help others.
GUBA would like to urge everyone to support the cause. Visit www.godwinlawson.org.uk to find out how to be involved.