Meet the team

Bianca Birdsey (Founder/Chairperson)

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Bianca is mom to three little princesses who are all deaf, she is a tea connoisseur and chocoholic.  In her spare time she is a medical doctor, a wannabe photographer and writer, she enjoys Classical piano and her favourite movie is The Chronicles of Narnia.

For Bianca, having someone take her by the hand, and show her that this can be wonderful – that was a life changer! She wants to be that for others.  Bianca’s vision for THRIVE is that all deaf kids know that they are loved. She wants their parents to see “ability” when they gaze at their child and to think, “You know what, survival is just not good enough…my family is going to thrive!” She sees THRIVE as a means to invest into this dream.

Three words to describe Bianca:    Creative, Purposeful, Determined

One insight for parents:   “Realizing that the choices I make for my children do not have to be set in stone has been a huge relief. You inform yourself, follow your gut, do your best and then go with the flow and let what’s working for your child guide you. There is room for flexibility on this journey…opportunities to assess and reassess and try new things as you need to.”

meet the team profile pic biance

Debra Clelland (Secretary)

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Debra works as an IT Business Analyst, she is mother to three unique daughters, one of which has severe bi-lateral hearing loss.  The Clelland family loves living in Durban and their favourite hang-out is the beach.

Debra is really good at laughing, making friends and bringing people together, her favourite movie is Mamma Mia and she enjoys any music that you can dance to.

Debra vision for THRIVE is that we help facilitate a global shift in thinking: that each child is deeply loved and of immeasurable value irrespective of whether they are hearing, hard of hearing, deaf, blind, have legs or don’t.

Three words to describe Debra:     Optimistic, Passionate, Driven

One insight for parents:      “Accepting your child unconditionally, just as they are, is instrumental in them accepting and honouring themselves as the perfect souls that they are.”


Namira Haripersad (Executive Trustee)

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Family Information: Namira & Nikesh live in Durban and are proud parents of 5 year old twins. K & A were born extremely premature, K has cerebral palsy and bi-lateral sensorineural hearing loss. Both Namira & Nikesh have OCD (obsessive coffee disorder) and would not have it any other way.

 Profession: Engineer

Why I believe in parent support: I believe that anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.  

 One insight we’d like all parents to know: Every family follows a different path. When you have your child’s best interests at heart here are no right or wrong options when you are given choices to make. You know your child better than anybody else … and you are allowed to change your mind.

 One insight we’d like all professionals to know: Parent’s being given a life-altering diagnosis for their children are without doubt overwhelmed, anxious and often grappling with choices. Help them make the most informed choices with the least judgment.

 Fact of interest about ourselves: K & A were miracle babies – born at 25 weeks gestation and weighing 880g and 740g

 One thing we’d really like THRIVE to achieve:  To be voice that must be heard, that influences policies, structures and systems all in the name of inclusion.

 Favorite Quote:  There is beauty and strength in diversity.

 Favorite Music: Eclectic

 Favorite Movie: What is a movie?

 One thing that you are really good at: Dreaming

 Three words to describe yourself: Honest hopeful and tough


Rob Deans (Treasurer)

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Rob is a Draughtsman, he and his wife have been married since 2003 and they are parents to 2 young girls, one of whom is profoundly deaf.

Rob is a terrible cook, enjoys listening to a wide range of music and is a lover of nature and the outdoors.

Rob believes that no family should feel alone on this journey as parent of deaf/hard of hearing children. He believes it is vital that they know what their options are for the now and for the future and he sees THRIVE as being able to help them get there.

Three words to describe Rob:     Honest, Transparent, Dedicated

One insight for parents:    “Its all going to be okay. It is not easy finding out your child is going to need extra care but once you pick yourself up and dive right in you realise the journey is a magical one.”