As a medical student, 23-year-old Kwaku Duah-Asante knows only too well the damage a knife can cause mentally and physically.
But after growing up in South London surrounded by knife crime, he knows the devastating impact it has on young lives too.
In 2017, he received a phone call while on the bus home from school telling him his close friend’s cousin had been stabbed and killed.
Kwaku says: “I was shocked. We’d been out just two weeks earlier and he was part of a group of us who would play Xbox and go clubbing together. Vir die eerste keer, I was seeing someone I really cared about being devastated by it.”
Eighteen months later, Kwaku was studying at Imperial College London, when he heard about StreetDoctors – a youth project that helps those at risk from street violence.
He knew immediately he wanted to help.
“StreetDoctors aims to empower young people affected by violence by teaching them what to do when someone is unconscious and when someone has been stabbed. We also inform young people of the real-life consequences of violence and how it impacts all those involved.”
Supported by National Lottery funding, StreetDoctors’ network of young healthcare volunteers, including junior doctors, nurses and paramedics, teach young people life-saving skills and tackle some of the myths surrounding violence.
“As a StreetDoctors volunteer, I am constantly learning that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
“The young people we work with have an enormous amount of character, goodness and the potential to make a change in the world, but often find themselves in challenging circumstances due to no fault of their own, with limited belief in themselves,” Kwaku says.
“I can show them what someone from our community is able to achieve, despite the negative depiction often portrayed to the public. Often they’re surprised by my age and that I finish medical school in less than a year.”
National Lottery players support health projects near you.
By playing The National Lottery, you’re helping to raise over £30million a week to support good causes like StreetDoctors, which is just one of many health and wellbeing projects that received funding last year.
The National Lottery also sponsors The Sun’s Who Cares Wins Awards 2022, which shine a spotlight on all the amazing people who work in the health sector across the UK.
Lucie Russell, CEO of StreetDoctors, sê: “Our National Lottery funding has empowered young people to become first responders after a violent incident, transforming them into a key part of the solution to the violence that blights our communities.
“The funding has enabled us to grow our life-saving skills training programme, which has been key to reaching thousands of young people affected by street violence.
“This has involved recruiting many more fantastic volunteer healthcare trainers like Kwaku, and developing our relationships with youth services across the UK to deliver our vital training where and when young people need it.”
Thanks to National Lottery players, StreetDoctors has received £230,000 of funding, spread across the last three years, to pay for important services such as training its volunteers and delivering life-saving skills to young people.
Kwaku adds: “With the help of National Lottery funding, I hope we can reach more corners of cities all over the country, to make sure as many young people as possible are informed and empowered.”
To find out how your numbers make amazing happen, besoek national-lottery.co.uk/life-changing.