Asha Khelawan, a former VN Naik School for the Deaf pupil, now teaches there.

Durban - Being deaf did not get in the way of 42-year-old Asha Khelawan, who aspired to help children from the deaf community.

The Overport resident, who grew up with a deaf sister, said having parents who understood sign language was a benefit.

“My parents were educators at VN Naik, so when my sister and I were born deaf they started teaching us to sign. 

"At the age of eight, I was enrolled at the school, where I excelled, and after matriculating I studied teaching in America. But due to a lack of funds in my second year, I had to return to South Africa.

“I then enrolled at Springfield College then did a sign language course at Wits University and I made my way back to VN Naik to assist the children there.”

Khelawan, who was crowned Miss Deaf KZN in 1994 and Miss Deaf SA in 1995, is married to hearing partner Nishal.

She said at first, it was difficult to communicate until he learnt to sign. “We are a typical married couple and that’s how we want to be seen.”