Cousin of stab victim launches foundation to keep young men off streets
The cousin of a 15-year-old knife crime victim has set up a foundation in his name to keep other young men off the streets.
Ohemaa Addae-Kodua, cousin of Baptista Adjei, said the frequency of knife crime in London has left people “desensitised”.
Baptista, from North Woolwich, was stabbed to death outside a busy Stratford Shopping Centre on October 10.
A 15-year-old boy has been charged with murder.
Ms Addae-Kodua told the PA news agency: “This happens all the time. The day Baptista got stabbed, another kid got stabbed and died. It is so common and we are so desensitised.
“But these are young kids whose lives are being lost and who are not coming back. It’s such a common issue and not enough is being done.”
Now she is setting up a foundation in his name with workshops and mentoring sessions to keep young people off the streets and out of trouble.
The 20-year-old IT apprentice said she was devastated following Baptista’s death.
She told PA: “We were very close, I watched him grow from birth. We celebrated Christmases together, birthdays together.
“He used to call me his big sister, and even though he was my cousin everyone knew him as my little brother.”
Ms Addae-Kodua is now looking to set up creative workshops in schools and community centres for young people in Newham to teach them new skills.
She said: “In particular creative skills. I have been in touch with artists, producers, videographers, that kind of industry to help teach young people new skills and help them get on the path to lead to that career.
“We need to create opportunities for them to focus on a hobby or a skill and they will hopefully spend less time on the streets. I have also been in contact with mental health advocates. I want to do sessions with kids who may have issues that can put them at risk for that kind of life.
“What I am trying to do is help the community and the young people within the community. I want to give back to them.”
Ms Addae-Kodua described her cousin as ambitious and “always smiling”.
She said: “He was so caring. He always used to check up on me and I am older than him. He was so ambitious — he used to play football, and he had trials for Ipswich. He was a lovely kid, so caring and so loved.”
The Baptista Adjei Foundation has been given the full support of his parents.
Ms Addae-Kodua said: “It’s a lot for the family, we have never had to mourn something like this. Within the family, it is a big thing for us to honour his name.”
Ms Addae-Kodua is looking for volunteers to run sessions to help get the foundation off the ground.
She said: “Everyone has been so supportive. Football clubs that Baptista was a part of are now organising fundraisers. I had someone message me who was part of a football team that played against him — they don’t know him but they played him and want to help.
“I feel so grateful.”