Noli contracted meningitis at 18 months old. After recovering from the infection we found that it had affected her hearing – she was diagnosed as deaf just before her second birthday. 

We found out about AVUK from the specialist speech and language nursery she was attending having taken the decision that we wanted Noli to use spoken language we joined the programme even before she received her cochlear implants.

I remember her first session in Bicester with Jacqueline who managed to get her speaking before she even had hearing aids or cochlear implants. I thought she was an amazing woman.

Before Noli was diagnosed, I didn’t know any deaf people. The first deaf person I knew was my daughter.

We spoke to a lot of professionals shortly after diagnosis but they were all quite vague with their goals and aims for Noli. AVUK was the first place with high expectations and set goals and a path for her, all we wanted was for our daughter to reach her potential despite her deafness. Within her first few sessions at AVUK, I clearly felt that it was where Noli needed to be.

The structured approach given to us at AVUK meant that we had a clear path for Noli, we knew where we needed to be and we could practice what we learnt in the sessions, week in, week out. The support we received from the charity as parents was also a great help when it came to Noli’s implantation when she was 23-months old as well as other milestones and changes.

Noli went to a mainstream nursery Hampstead Hill and a specialist speech and language nursery as well as AVUK. When she was just two and a half her language was at three years and two months and she was age appropriate at singing.

Noli developed a great interest in music and was encouraged to take up an instrument by a music Teacher of the Deaf. We were told the violin was a good instrument for deaf children due to the purity of its tone.

She has excelled at school and in her music attended Trinity Laban Conservatoire for music and performed with the Chineke Junior Orchestra.

As a deaf ambassador Noli has met international activitist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai at a global summit to launch a consultation process for the development of a global declaration on hearing loss for children and young people and demonstrate that deaf young people can achieve anything. 

Now 20 Noli is studying Archaeology and Ancient Civilisation at Durham University and in her third year will be doing a year in industry with Durham Archaeological Services as an intern. 

She also crochets and sells clothes, plushies, and bags and is interested in a career in law. None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for AVUK!

Noli's mum, Angela