Left to right: Katie De Salis Noha Moukarzel, Aleata Alstad-Calkins

Self-defence classes and bystander training: the group making Wandsworth’s women safer

From self-defence classes to self-love workshops, a community group founded after Sarah Everard’s death is helping Wandsworth’s women feel safer with its busy schedule of events.

The ‘Wandsworth Angels’ project started as an Instagram page to support women in the community but now the team organises free weekly events including power walking and yoga. 

Founder Noha Moukarzel, 47, had always planned to set up a group, but discussions with a friend about women’s safety in the wake of Everard’s disappearance finally prompted her to take action. 

Caterer Moukarzel, who moved to Battersea in January, said: “Sometimes when I’m walking home at night I just feel unsafe even though I have friends to call.

“I thought it would be nice to have other people to contact, to have a supportive network of women who live in the area.

“I wanted to create this sense of belonging for myself and for other people.

“Because I started this project at the time of Sarah Everard’s death, that event was really fresh in everyone’s brains and a lot of the girls were in shock.

“All the girls wanted something like this group and it appealed to so many people so quickly.”

THE WA TEAM: Katie, Aleata and Noha (left to right) are working to make Wandsworth’s women safer

Despite the circumstances which gave rise to Wandsworth Angels, Moukarzel stressed that this group is a positive move.

She added: “The events allow people to meet each other and make friends, learn something new, help keep themselves safe and become more confident.”

A Wandsworth Angels Whatsapp chat was created for members to share safety updates and to allow those feeling unsafe walking home to “buddy-up” with others. 

Team member and psychologist Aleata Alstad-Calkins spoke of the group’s aim to get more businesses across Wandsworth on board with the ‘Ask for Angela’ campaign

By using the codeword ‘Ask for Angela’, customers can alert staff if they feel unsafe or threatened.

HELPING THE COMMUNITY: A self defence class at Battersea Park run by CATSDG

Members have so far enjoyed cooking classes, yoga sessions, self-defence lessons, ninjarobics, bystander training and chats with a local police officer.

This is what Wandsworth Angels are running this week:

Monday 28 June at 6pm: Natalia Dunne will lead a self love workshop on Zoom

Monday 28 June at 6.30pm: Dan and Kit from London Ju Jitsu will teach self-defence on Clapham Common

Tuesday 29 June at 6pm: Founder Noha will take members on a power walk from Battersea to Southbank

Check out @wandsworthangels on Instagram for more updates about upcoming events.

Featured image credit: Wandsworth Angels

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Charlotte Murfin
Charlotte Murfin
28 June 2021 4:29 pm

I’ve been part of WA for a while and I think what they’re doing is brilliant. I recommend getting involved if you’re local and you can!

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