A teenage anti-knife campaigner scooped a Woman of the Future award as she prepares to launch her first hub in Croydon.
Eliza Rebeiro, 19, founded Lives Not Knives at 14 years old after being excluded from school and watching a close friend attacked in a stabbing.
On Wednesday Eliza joined other inspirational women under 35, nominated for categories involving science, technology, business and the arts.
She won the Young Star Award at the event, supported by Cherie Blair and Dame Kelly Holmes.
Eliza said: “It was amazing to get the award; it was such a lovely evening with so many inspiring women. I was so, so pleased when they read my name out.”
Eliza was praised by judges who said she was ‘an incredibly mature, confident and capable woman who has a huge amount of care and compassion for others’.
She will be launching a Croydon Centrale base for Lives not Knives on Monday which will be providing work ready programmes for young people not in education, employment or training.
Eliza added: “We are very excited about the launch, it’s been a long time coming and it’s been so manic all week but we can’t wait.”
The organisation is paired with Lloyds bank whose management team will be helping with CV writing, interview skills and money management on Monday morning.
It will then be officially opened by the mayor cutting the ribbon at 4.30pm.
Half of the premises, including a small window display, will be dedicated to enterprise for start-up businesses and entrepreneurs.
Eliza said: “I set up Lives not Knives to prove you could have fun without violence and now we’re on to the next step supporting entrepreneurs and young people, it’s all so exciting.
“There is no passion around young people, it is so negative how they are always portrayed. Hopefully we’re helping to change that.”
The organisation have now worked with around 10,000 young people.
Monique Rebeiro, Eliza’s mum, helps with the business and said: “I am really proud of her. We both had a moment when the award was announced.”
“It’s been such a busy week, we got the keys last Friday and we’ve had lots of young local men helping us paint and decorate.
She added: “Eliza is really good at what she does; she has become a great networker, a real pro. I am so proud of her.”
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