Hi my name’s Ana Ndekwe, I’m 36 and I’m a Female Boxing Coach, I am known as @femaleboxingcoach on Instagram and am also Project Manager for the Diabetes Awareness Champions at Paddington Development Trust.
A few years ago I started volunteering at Double Jab Boxing Club in south-east London. I was at a low point after being made redundant and a friend recommended that I attend a boxing gym she knew, knowing that I had previously been passionate about this sport. I went to Double Jab for fitness and to get out of my house and become active. After a short while, I not only started to find myself again but I also found love in watching how the female coach turned peoples lives around.
About a month in, I realised that coaching boxing was something I could see myself doing. I started volunteering as an assistant to a female boxing coach and achieved my level 1 coaching qualification. I’m proud to say that I passed with flying colours. Boxing strengthened me mentally, emotionally, physically and more. My love to coach continues and due to this, on the 30th January 2019, I qualified as a level 2 England Boxing Coach.
My motto here for those ladies I coach and deliver recreational sessions to is “ A better me, A stronger you”. The more I get skilled in the fitness field, the more I have to give to those women when our souls cross.
In line with the above and my “Superhero Syndrome”, I recognised and appreciated what boxing had done for me. I wanted to help other women achieve that feeling. As my strength grew, I saw my vibrancy coming out – bringing the women I coached together, embedding the energy that was within me. It only takes one person to bring a group of people together and bring out the best in them and I love doing that.
I wanted to be a female only boxing coach because I have that ability to motivate individuals and especially reassuring women that they have the ability to be great at boxing, a sport that’s dominated by men. I want to be there to show that you can still box if you’re female.
“Never say you can’t do a sport because you’re a woman, or because you don’t think you’re fit enough.”
I never wanted to be a motivational speaker but people tell me so many times that I speak and inspire individuals because I am so encouraging and my speech is so empowering and touches those I pass in life, whether I know them or not. My method of working is from the inside out. I make you feel good and because you feel good you look good. No matter your race, your gender, your size, with my coaching I can make you feel good.
I love smashing barriers (My Superhero Syndrome) as I live with dyslexia but I don’t let that stop me from achieving what I want in life.
My nephew has difficulties with grammar which has progressed as he’s gotten older. However, as a baby, in order to help him to communicate and progress in his speech and language, I learnt BSL British Sign Language.
I learnt Sign Language (BSL) as my nephew was born with downs syndrome. I am from the Nigerian Igbo tribe and am the youngest of 8 siblings, which my brother and I were British born into. As there is a big age gap between me and my siblings and as I was the youngest of 8, I felt that I would be able to commit to learning such a language for him and also for him to be heard within this hearing community he would be living in.
I was on a mission to give him an opportunity to be heard and also to break that barrier between the non-verbal and verbal community, bringing them together and supporting those are not verbal in a speaking world. I am available to coach boxing to those who are Deaf as I Qualified in BSL Level 2 Sign and have previous experience of working with the Deaf Community.
It took me 4 years at college, I kept failing years and having to retake but that wasn’t going to stop me from achieving what I set out to achieve. If you’re passionate about something you have to go for it. If you fail you’ve got to get up. I bring my thirst for life and perseverance into my coaching practice, helping clients to not give up and keep on trying their best.
I’m here to make women believe in themselves. For me, coaching boxing is all about empowerment, self-belief and good physical and mental health. If only you knew how much I love to coach. When I have had a bad or hard day, I always know that coaching will install that good feeling back into me. Sometimes we work so hard and we’re so busy that we forget about ourselves, we forget about how to make us feel good and neglect this fact. If only everyone could feel the benefits and endorphin rush of such a sport. I want to make women feel their best and help them be their best selves.
It was during my years at university that I became increasingly aware of the importance of design when trying to create both awareness and change regarding important social and political issues. The majority of the work I was and still am producing is aimed to educate the audience in some way (see more of my projects on my instagram). It just so happened that a lot of the relevant issues of the time revolved around women, particularly feminist issues.
One of my favourite projects was a campaign I produced to celebrate the suffragettes and suffragists of South London, where I was living at the time. The project started with a simple aim, ‘to celebrate the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918′. It was legislation that first enabled all men and some women over the age of 30 to vote, and has paved the way for suffrage movements to this day.
After much heavy, and tedious research at LSE’s Women’s Library (an archive I believe everyone should pay a visit to, it is absolutely fascinating) I discovered a wealth of public records concerning suffrage events that took place in places like Peckham, Woolwich, and Brixton. I felt that the ‘South’ side of the Suffragette movement was not widely known about, with most only knowing of such fateful events as the 1913 Epsom Derby, where Emily Davison famously died on the race track after running out and being trampled by King George V’s horse. I decided that the brave women of South London also needed to be remembered and celebrated.
I set about researching the events and found many accounts mentioning familiar locations, such as Peckham Rye Lane. I decided that the best way to share my findings was to produce a free illustrated newspaper that was handed out at the local train stations where these events had occurred 100 years before. I also produced a set of animations to advertise the publication of digital billboards across the Southern Boroughs, I felt animation was the best way to create interest amongst children.
I believe it is important to recognize things like this within design, that otherwise might go under our radar.
This project was made in part collaborated with Josh Conway.