Wits Education Campus. St Andrews Road, Parktown 2000 info@hihopes.co.za +27 (0)11 717 3750

Meet the Team

Professor Claudine Storbeck : Founder and Director

Claudine’s passion is ensuring that all children with hearing loss have equal access to education and equal opportunities to develop to their full potential. After graduating in the fields of both teaching and educational psychology, her post graduate research was in the field of Educational Linguistics and Deaf Education.

She started the Centre for Deaf Studies in the Department of Specialised Education at Witwatersrand University in 1998 and is currently the Director of the Centre.

In 2006 she established the first home based early intervention programme for families with a Deaf infant (HI HOPES) in South Africa.

Claudine is a Paul Harris Fellow, was the winner (Zone 10) and finalist in the Rotary service to humanity global awards (2006) and was Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar in 1995/6. She is the current World Federation of the Deaf appointed world specialist on deafness.


Dr Bianca Birdsey : National Coordinator and Founder of THRIVE

Bianca is a qualified medical doctor with experience in paediatrics and a Diploma in HIV medicine. Bianca’s life took quite a drastic change when she discovered that all three of her daughters were deaf, in 2013. She became a recipient of HI HOPES services, and in realizing the importance of parent support and early intervention, whilst being empowered through the unbiased support from HI HOPES, she founded THRIVE parent support group for families with deaf and hard of hearing children.

She is since become involved in the Global Coalition of Parents of Children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and is the pioneer of several innovative projects.

Bianca has been the National Coordinator of HI HOPES since 2016, offering both a professional and parent perspective to the world of hearing loss and the field of Early Intervention.

Bianca is married to Graeme, a specialist Obstetrician, and she enjoys writing and photography.


Yvette Vivian: National Operations Manager

Yvette is part of the Gauteng mentoring team of HI HOPES. The focus of this work is to ensure that the team of Gauteng Parent Advisors are equipped to offer quality intervention services to families of deaf infants and that they are as professional and as skilled as possible, thereby offering a life line to parents as they embark on the journey of raising a child with a hearing loss.

Yvette is an experienced early interventionist with a particular focus on families and multiple disabilities in babies and young children with complex needs. She has a Masters degree in Early Childhood Intervention with an Honours Degree in Psychology. She is married to Graham and is the mother of three children.


Dr Selvarani Moodley : Paediatric Audiologist

Selvarani is a speech language therapist and audiologist with a Masters degree in Audiology (Advanced Audiology, Early Intervention and Deafness Studies). She has recently completed a PhD, with a research focus on paediatric diagnostic audiology. Her current primary role is as researcher in early intervention, with the aim of improving the system of identification and intervention for children with hearing loss in South Africa.

Selvarani is a trained Parent Advisor. As the audiologist on the programme her role includes liaison with referring audiologists and mentoring of Parent Advisors on all aspects of audiology testing.


Kerryn Arterio: Mentor and Trainer

Kerryn has been a Home Interventionist for 10 years and is part of the Gauteng Mentoring team. She is also one of the National Trainers.

Kerryn has an Honours Degree in Deaf Education and has many years’ experience in this field, with a particular interest in Early Intervention. She has been trained in early intervention for children with multiple disabilities and particularly enjoys her work in this area.

Kerryn is married and has 3 children


Kelly Naude : National Deaf Mentor Coordinator

Kelly is the National Deaf Mentor Co-ordinator. She has an honours degree in Deaf Education and taught in a school for the Deaf for 8 years. She was in the first group of Home Interventionists to be trained at HI HOPES and worked as a Home Interventionist, as well as in the office in the early years.

Kelly is a fluent Signer and loves to work with Deaf children and adults. Her passion for teaching, writing and mentoring is what lead her to apply for the position of Deaf Mentor Co-ordinator. This is a job she loves and is dedicated to, as she has an opportunity to improve the programme, write new teaching materials and empower members of the Deaf community, as well as families with Deaf or hard of hearing children.

In her spare time, Kelly teaches and plays the violin and is a member of the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra. She lives with her life-partner, Miguel, and is expecting twins later this year.


Percy Nkomo

Percy is a member of the HI HOPES mentoring team in Gauteng. She has a Diploma in Early childhood Education and Care and was a foundation phase teacher before becoming a Parent Advisor 8 years ago. Since then, she has worked with over 70 families in Gauteng, the North West and Limpopo provinces. She really is motivated when she sees positive change in the family’s attitude towards their child with a hearing loss. Percy supports and mentors Parent Advisors with her years of experience in the field.

She has a 12 year old daughter and enjoys reading and cooking in her spare time.


Salome Koen: Western Cape Coordinator

Salome is the Western Cape Provincial Coordinator. Salomé is a Speech, Language and Hearing Therapist with 6 year’s experience in the private sector, where she worked as part of a multidisciplinary team with mainly young children. Her experience has taught her the value of early language intervention and she is passionate about providing support to families with children with hearing loss in the Western Cape. She trained as a Home Interventionist in 2016.

Salomé loves reading, jogging, drawing and baking – in fact, she bakes the best cranberry and choc chip cookies in the world!


Zanele Hlophe: KZN Coordinator

Zanele is the KZN Provincial Coordinator. She holds a postgraduate Certificate in Foundation Phase. One of her passions is for Social Equality for minority groups and inclusive education for all. Zanele was introduced to HI HOPES through digital media and she believed in what the programme stood for and immediately wanted to be part of the team that makes a difference in children’s lives.


Kemishi Mnisi: Mpumalanga Coordinator

Kemishi is the Provinical Coordinator for Mpumalanga. Prior to the is position, she was an active Home Interventionist in Limpopo. Kemishi has a bookkeeping qualification, which makes her extremely organized. She enjoys travelling, reading motivational books and good music. Kemishi really is a warm people’s person with an absolute love for children.


Elizabeth Matlhole: Secretary National Office

Receptionist Elizabeth started working at Centre for Deaf Studies April 2011. She handles reception duties for both the Centre and Hi HOPES at Wits Education campus. She schedules and confirms appointments for the director and staff, establishes work procedures and keeps track of the daily office administration such as booking flights, tracking invoices, answering queries on the telephone and generally assisting where she can. Elizabeth has a Secretarial Certificate and Call Centre diploma.