The team

Adela Belecova – Teacher-Organiser, ESOL Campaigning Coordinator and Community Organising Trainer

Adela Belecova

Adela has been working for EFA since 2015. She has been volunteering as an ESOL teacher since 2014. She is currently studying Linguistics and English language teaching at the University of Greenwich. She loves languages and traveling.


Amira Elwakil – Teacher-Organiser, Communications Officer and Research Coordinator

Amira has been working for EFA London since 2016. She previously taught English in Egypt, Japan and South Korea. She holds an MA in Gender Studies and is committed to social justice, particularly issues affecting migrant communities. She co-runs EFA’s housing action group with Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth.

Anne McConnell – Teacher-Organiser

Anne McConnell

Anne has been working for EFA London since 2016. She has a keen interest in language related issues including adult literacy, creoles and bilingualism for example. She has been teaching ESOL in London since 2013 and also has over 25 years’ experience working in value-driven organisations in the Charity sector including the London-based Haiti Support Group, Lambeth Mediation Service and Stockwell Partnership. Her many years of minority rights advocacy has given her experience in assisting people to overcome the linguistic and other barriers to full cultural integration. She is from N Ireland and Haiti.

Ariel A. Morales – Finance and HR Manager

Ariel Aguilar

Ariel has been working for EFA London since 2009. He is a graduate in Criminology and Psychological Studies at the Open University and loves music, art and sport.



Becky Winstanley – Teacher-Organsier and Training

Becky Winstanley

Becky is an experienced ESOL teacher and teacher educator working in Tower Hamlets and has done research, training and ESOL teaching for EFA since 2010. She worked on Actionaid’s Reflect ESOL project, adapting the international Reflect model for language learning in the UK and trained with Reflect practitioners in Liberia. Recently she has been working with the Serpentine Gallery to incorporate language development work into their Theatre of the Oppressed workshops. She is currently doing an MA in sociocultural linguistics with a research focus on migration changes and language in the Bangladeshi community of east London. She has been a trade unionist for many years and is interested in teachers’ and students’ struggles in education and beyond.

Cait Crosse – Migreat! Research Coordinator

Cait Crosse

Cait has been working for EFA London since 2010. During this time she has been involved in teaching and training but is now currently focusing on improving our internal systems. Cait is enthusiastic (some might say obsessive) about decentralised organising, consent-based decision making and building restorative approaches to conflict, accountability and feedback. She thinks EFA and her colleagues are amazing.

Dermot Bryers – CEO and Teacher-Organiser

Dermot Bryers

Dermot set up EFA London, alongside the trustees, in 2009. He has taught ESOL in London since 2006. He has also worked as a community organiser for London Citizens and as campaigns consultant and trainer for ActionAid’s participatory education project, REFLECT ESOL. He is CELTA, DELTA and DTLLS qualified. Dermot is currently teaching three classes across London and running EFA London with the help of his colleagues, trustees, volunteers and participants.

Fatime Jadallah – Teacher-Organiser

Before joining EFA London in 2020, Fatime completed a Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics with TESOL at the University of Kent. There, she taught international students and volunteered as an English language teacher teaching refugees. She also conducted research focusing on bilingualism/phonetics: she was looking at the effect of second language learning on the production of native and non-native sounds by Hungarian learners of English living in the UK. Therefore, her interests lie in bi- and multilingualism, second language development particularly in a migrant context, identity and language and accents. She is also interested in materials development, syllabus design and language learning, in general. She considers the latter as one of her hobbies, too. 

Kasia Blackman – Teacher-Organiser

Dermot Bryers

Kasia has been working for EFA since 2018. She also speaks Polish, French, some Spanish and a little Arabic learned growing up in the UAE. She recently completed an MA in Critical Methodologies with a research focus on securitisation and exclusion in public spaces in London. Alongside her work for EFA, she teaches ESOL classes for a charity in Tower Hamlets supporting local women who face economic and social barriers.

Lucie Vyhnálková – Teacher-Organiser

Dermot Bryers

I’ve been involved with EFA since April 2016, initially as a teaching assistant and now as a teacher. I am a trained Social Science, History and Art teacher and also have the CELTA qualification. I love all sorts of visual arts, books, food and I am interested in modern history and international politics. I am from the Czech Republic.

Marta da Silva – Teacher-Organiser, Volunteer Coordinator and Migreat! Coordinator

Marta started teaching ESOL in 2015 in order to travel and has taught in Reunion Island, England and Angola.  She is motivated by helping others reach their goals and enjoys learning from her students’ own experiences. Having been a migrant herself, from a Portuguese/Angolan background, she is particularly passionate about empowering others in new environments. Marta enjoys cooking, socialising, travelling and equality!

Phoebe Cullingworth – Development Manager

Phoebe Cullingworth has been working with us since 2016. She is a social justice activist and loves EFA’s participatory methods for teaching language and empowering people. She supports us and other organisations with their fundraising and monitoring and evaluation and is part of campaign groups Sisters Uncut and ResisDance.

Robin Sivapalan – Teacher-Organiser

Robin started teaching ESOL in 2018 as part of a community union project in Brent, where EFA provided the training. He joined EFA as teacher-organiser in 2020. He has been involved in community and trade union activism on housing, welfare and migrant workers’ rights for 15 years. He dreams of riverside garden-library-auditoriums in a world without borders with homes for all.

Sheeva Malakouti – Teacher-Organiser

Before joining EFA in 2020, Sheeva taught abroad in Barcelona and Prague. She then completed her PGCE at the University of Wolverhampton, and in 2018, a master of arts in Health Humanities at UCL. She participated in one of UCL grand challenges, ‘growing old without aging’ an ethnographic study of a group of Latin American women, which drew research on time spent in a community garden and on culinary care practises as a pathway to wellness. She became interested in participatory ESOL in 2019 after attending a workshop led by ACT ESOL that combined theatre of the oppressed and participatory ESOL. 

Stephanie Habib — Senior Fundraising Officer

Before joining the EFA London team in 2021, Stephanie completed an MA in Media Practice for Development & Social Change at the University of Sussex. There, she focused her research on the ways in which the news media uses language to depict marginalized social groups, particularly relating to issues surrounding poverty, gender, and social mobility. Prior to her graduate studies, Stephanie spent time working as a news reporter in the United States and later as an ESOL teacher in public schools in France and Spain. In her spare time, Stephanie is a hobby photographer, a lover of a good countryside walk, and an avid language learner — she speaks French and Spanish, and is currently studying Arabic.

Sylwia Lemanska – Teacher-Organiser and Project Manager

Sylwia joined EFA London in 2020. She has taught ESOL in London since 2009. For the last 4 years she managed ESOL service at The Cardinal Hume Centre where she incorporated participatory methods for teaching language and empowering people. Prior to that she worked as a Health and Inclusion Coordinator at the Migrant Recourse Centre acting as a voice for migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers who were constantly refused access to NHS services. She holds BA in Methodology of Teaching English as a Foreign Language and Linguistics and is also CELTA qualified. She speaks Polish and Spanish. Apart from her passion for teaching English and interest in Multilingualism, she is also a passionate yoga teacher, painter, theatre goer and traveller.

Verushka Grebenar-George – Teacher-Organiser

Verushka started teaching English on her travels in Argentina and has been working for EFA since 2013. Before that she worked as a performing arts and EAL workshop provider for children. She also works as a musician on several different projects and teaches singing.

Board of Trustees

Dr Melanie Cooke (Chair)

Daniel Michael Grütters

Désirée Faro Montje

Jess Walker 

Larysa Agbaso

Liam James Crosby (Treasurer)

Marwa Belghazi

Nicolò Wojewoda

Sho Konno

Tom Smith