The headteacher of a school where two students were murdered after being stabbed within six months of each other has unveiled plans for fundraising campaign for a youth centre.
Saqib Chaudhri, head of Oasis Academy Shirley Park Secondary and Sixth Form, paid tribute to Zaian Aimable-Lina, 15, (pictured top left) who was murdered in Ashburton Park on December 30, by another teenager in the latest brutal unprovoked attack. He was the fifth teenage boy stabbed to death in the borough during 2021.
Another of the school’s pupils, popular Damarie Omare Roye (pictured middle left) was stabbed and killed as he walked along Bensham Manor Road in July last year.
Now founder of Oasis, Steve Chalke, a former UN Special Advisor, has secured the lodge in the park where Zaian was killed which the council were planning to auction in February.
The school is raising funds to create a youth centre which will be a legacy to Zaian and be named after him.
Mr Chaudhri, who grew up in Thornton Heath, and asked The Chronicle to share details of the fundraising campaign paid tribute to Zaian: “I want to tell you of a death of one of our students, Zaian was killed during the Christmas holidays and becomes another young life lost.
“A kind hearted, well mannered, popular boy with his whole life ahead of him. The grief of staff and students in the last two weeks has been tangible. But we are Shirley Park, and we will not be swallowed by this darkness.
“In honour of Zaian, our Founder Steve Chalke has secured a large residential building in the park where he was killed.
Mr Chaudhri (pictured bottom left) added: “Our school community, our Oasis family and our Croydon neighbourhood will raise funds and create The Zaian Centre.
“An outreach hub for young people in Croydon that will provide a safe place where they can work and play outside of term time. Together, we will raise funds and secure the future of not only Zaian’s memory but also of every young person in Addiscombe and Croydon as a whole.
“We will shine our light in this darkness and we will be stronger and more united for it. Our new journey Begins and you can play your part by donating here: https://www.oasisuk.org/appeal/a-legacy-for-zaian/
“Zaian is gone, but this tragedy will never be forgotten. May he rest in eternal peace.”
*Other young teenage victims of Croydon’s knife crime in 2021 were Jermaine Cools, 14; Tai Jordan O’Donnell, 19 and Camron Smith, 16.
*Ashburton Lodge is an empty building situated in Ashburton Park where Zaian died.
It has a main building and an annexe and was about to be auctioned by the local council. At Oasis request the council has cancelled the sale in order to give the Academy time to fund our proposal to develop it into the much-needed Zaian Youth Centre.
The Academy says its goal is to provide the space to deliver a wide range of activities and opportunities to local young people, including:
- integrated youth work;
- support for children at risk of exclusion and exploitation;
- support to keep young people in school so they can fulfil their potential; as well as
- practical help for parents and local schools.
The aim is to do this by creating strong working partnerships with community police, social and health work teams, as well as other schools in the area, churches, local voluntary agencies, grassroots groups and community members.
If you can support click here: https://www.oasisuk.org/appeal/a-legacy-for-zaian/