Teenage girls, who were friends of a 17-year-old boy stabbed to death in Brockley, are taking a stand against knife crime on the streets of London.

Two hundred candles were lit - to represent each child or teenager killed as a result of knife crime or gang-related violence during the last 15 years in London - at a vigil outside City Hall on Friday night (November 27) organised by three Lewisham teenage girls.

Friends Malika Hemmings and Kershanner Samuels, both 16, and Jennifer Chandrasegara, 15, who were friends of Shaquan Fearon who was killed in Brockley in September, have set up organisation Break The Chain in a bid to put an end to youth knife crime in the capital.

The girls organised the vigil to call on other young women to take a stand in their community and encourage boys to stop carrying knives.

Thirteen teenagers have died in knife attacks across the capital so far this year including Shaquan, who was due to start a business course at college, and Nathan Murray, 18, who was fatally stabbed in Sydenham High Street in June.

News Shopper:

Shaquan Fearon

The vigil also marked the 15th anniversary of the death of 10-year-old Damilola Taylor, who was stabbed in Peckham in 2000.

Malika, a pupil at St Matthew Academy, Blackheath, who was just a baby when Damilola died, told News Shopper: “Back then [when Damilola died] it was a huge thing, it shocked the nation.

“Now, young boys are getting stabbed all the time and no-one seems to care.

"It’s too much. It’s something that needs to be addressed.

“These boys are smart. They all have good grades and pass their GCSEs.

“But if they have arguments or when they are in fights, the knife is the first thing they bring out to protect themselves.

"It’s peer pressure as well.”

News Shopper:

Young women and teenage girls gather for a candle lit vigil outside City Hall

Zara Hakala, 30, of Ringstead Road, Catford, has been supporting and mentoring the girls with friend 26-year-old Kads Nedham.

Ms Hakala has an eight-year-old son, whose father Nathan Williams died in a shooting in Ludwick Mews, New Cross in July 2009.

She said: “It’s about status. They [the young people] want to protect their egos so much that it isn’t a fist fight anymore. They think, ‘I have got to make sure I have a knife to protect me.’”

The mum-of-one believes youths need more support, opportunities and things to keep them occupied within their communities.

She added: “They need something to do with themselves instead of sitting around on the streets or in fast food restaurants.

“These young men and women are smart. They have potential but community centres are cut and anything that they do have is being taken away.

“The more you show love and kindness, the stronger the community is.”

To find out how you can get involved with Break The Chain, email breakthe_chain@hotmail.com or tweet @breakthe_chain.