Here is some information on our Co-Chair Directors

Rubbena Aurangzeb-Tariq – Co-Chair of Trustee/DirectorsRubbena Aurangzeb Tariq

MA (Art Psychotherapy), MA (Psychodynamics), MA (Fine Art), BA (Hons)

Deaf since birth, Rubbena grew up in Surrey in a hearing family of Pakistani origin. Rubbena has over 15 years experience of management and training in the voluntary and statutory sectors. She has developed expertise in an extensive range of fields  including disability, deafness, BME, refugees, education and mental health, and currently works as a consultant and educator on deafness, disability and inclusion. She is chair of the Deaf Ethnic Women’s Association with a particular remit for fundraising.

Rubbena graduated from St Martins College in1995 with BA (Hons) Fine Art Painting and MA Fine Art (Surrey Institute) in 1996. She is a renowned artist who has staged numerous exhibitions nationally and internationally. Since graduating from Goldsmiths’ College in 2005 and Tavistock in 2010 she has worked as a psychodynamic art psychotherapist with a special interest in BME children and young people with severe emotional and behavioural problems.


Graham D Hocking – Co-Chair of Trustee/DirectorsGraham Hocking

Graham has been employed by three organisations associated with deafness over a period of 31 years.

Firstly, Breakthrough Deaf/Hearing Integration (now known as DeafPlus) from 1982-1997. With the task of developing and managing two centres based in Aldershot & Farnborough with an annual turnover rising from £45,000 to £100,000 to provide an advisory service on deaf issues to the community in Surrey and Hampshire. Raising funds to purchase two Mobile Advisory Units kitted out with environmental equipment valued at £35,000 each.

Secondly, Deafax from September 1997 until he retired February 2013. Over the period he took on several middle management roles. Coordinating and monitoring the development of DeafChild UK and Deaf Adults workshops. Delivering tailor-made workshops, presentations nationwide in a range of educational establishments. His final role was as a Training Manager providing support to the training team and coordinating a programme of modular training.

Lastly, Royal Association Deaf People as part-time Office Manager Assistant from 2009 until he retired 2013. Mainly being the link between the office and deaf/hearing outreach workers working with deaf clients who have learning difficulties and other additional disabilities.

After being made redundant from Breakthrough and attaining full-time employment with Deafax .  He set up a freelance consultancy to deliver Deaf Awareness and Textphone (Minicom) workshops to employers who have deaf employees.

His strengths is being a member of a team in a supporting role with acquired IT skills, office management, planning, organising and delivering a programme of modular training. He has always been seeking fresh challenges to mentor, train, motivate, encourage and nurture younger deaf people. To enable them to achieve their own goals in life, especially in acquiring new skills and obtaining employment. Being partially deaf, he fully understands that finding employment is the biggest barriers that the deaf community face in society.

He enjoys driving, travelling abroad, computing, editing videos, DIY, badminton and is an Aldershot Town Football season ticket holder.


Ken CarterKen Carter – Co-Founder, Trustee/Director & Company Secretary

Throughout his 50 year’s involvement in teaching and learning, Ken has developed a particular expertise in Deafness and SEN (Special Educational Needs), due in part to having a deaf daughter. He has been highly entrepreneurial helping to set up a number of charitable companies/companies limited by guarantee, namely: Deafax, Breakthrough (deaf/hearing) Integration Trust (now DeafPlus), FYD (Friends for Young Deaf People), AACT (Access-Ability Communications Technology), AACT4Children; Deafkidz International; DisabledChild-India; Specialkidz/Specialkidz International; Deaf Aspirations; Decibels/Decibels International, Ability2Access, EASiTEC (Easy Access Solutions for Inclusion, Technology, Education and Communication); GOALS4LIFE  Global Online Assisted Learning & Support) & all of which are operating locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

His school career took him to Millfield, an enterprising International School, having been awarded a sports scholarship. He was in the Royal Marines on National Service and travelled extensively. During his academic career he studied at Loughborough University, London University and the University of Surrey.

His teaching and lecturing appointments has taken him to Public and State Schools, the Berkshire Education Audiology Service, City Literary Institute Centre for the Deaf, Bulmershe College of Higher Education now the Institute of Education, University of Reading where he was the Research Director of the Reading Consortium Support Services. At the same time, he was responsible for setting up the National Network and European Bureau of Deaf Students. He was an Associate Professor at the National Centre on Deafness, California State University, Northridge, Los Angeles.

One of his many attributes has been to network extensively throughout the world with individuals associated with Information & Computer Technology, Politics, Music, Companies/Foundations and Academics who have helped enormously to enhance his pioneering work mainly in the field of Innovative Technologies and Inclusion. Probably the most influential person has been Dr Vinton Cerf, the architect/inventor of the Internet and Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist who is now Deafax’s Honorary President.



Stewart Thomas Chessun

Stewart Thomas Chessun – Trustee/Director & Treasurer

Born severely deaf, Stewart is a highly professional accountant and financial strategist, with experience in various senior managerial roles across the business and charitable sectors. Stewart began working life just before turning 17 for a precast concrete manufacturing family business, where he gained a wealth of experience in a number of roles before later becoming a Director, with responsibility for running the accounts department.

In 1991, Stewart began working in the charitable sector for Breakthrough Deaf-Hearing Integration, where he started at the Farnborough Centre and later progressed to become Finance Manager at the Greenwich and Whitechapel Centres. Stewart was then appointed National Accounts Manager for Breakthrough, based at the Birmingham Centre.

Following his expertise in spreadsheet reporting and using the TAS Books accounting system, Stewart was co-employed by Deafax in 1998, before transferring to Deafax on a full-time basis in 2001. At Deafax, Stewart ran the Accounts Office and had an active role as part of the Senior Management team, where he reported to major funding bodies, such as the National Lottery and BBC Children in Need. In this role, he also contributed in terms of financial planning, budgeting, management thinking and practical expertise. In 2006, Stewart moved away from charitable operations and has since worked self-employed, including operating TAS Books and liaising with auditors for a dental practice in Essex.

As a child, Stewart experienced the benefits of technology in combating his deafness and supporting his education, particularly in helping him to adapt and overcome the challenges of entering mainstream education at a hearing school, Halliford School, Middlesex, from the age of twelve, which was unique for a deaf child in the late 1960s. He is passionate about deaf and hearing integration – across both older and younger generations – and using the latest technology to give greater choice and opportunity for those with all levels of hearing loss to improve their quality of life.


Sandra David – Trustee/Director

Sandra was born 3rd generation profoundly deaf and prelingually deaf, to deaf parents and grandparents. She attended Mill Hall and Mary Hare Grammar School before gaining a BA degree in Education from Bulmershe College, Reading, and has completed PGCE and ToD courses at the University of Hertfordshire.

With a lifelong passion about deaf education for children in the UK and around the world, Sandra has taught deaf adults life-skills, functional literacy and numeracy at the City Lit for 5 years and has been a teacher of the Deaf for the past 29 years. She has worked for 26 years at Frank Barnes as a Classteacher, Senior teacher, Team Leader, and Assistant headteacher for the last 8 years, and has covered roles such as staff development, parent partnership initiatives, secondary transition, chairing EHCP meetings, establishing the family communication scheme, mentor for newly qualified teachers, Teachers of the Deaf and HLTA staff.

Sandra has taught Deaf children literacy in Sri Lanka for 3 months, created and delivered teaching and learning training for 85 teachers/managers/co-ordinators for one year in India under Deaf Child Worldwide (NDCS), and delivered the “Raising a Deaf Child” parenting skills course for parents of Frank Barnes school. She currently works as a freelance cover teacher, as an EYFS trainer, supporting families in their homes and supporting potential overseas projects in the pipeline.



Ilan Dwek – Trustee/Director

lan was born deaf and originally from London. At the start of his career, he was a computer programmer for several years before changing career and becoming a freelance actor, working on stage and TV, in the 1990s and 2000s. He seldom acts these days but has been employed by the University of Reading since 2011, working within the BA Theatre Arts Education and Deaf Studies [TAEDS] degree programme for Institute of Education (IoE) until the closure of the TAEDS degree programme in 2018. He focused on the signed theatre monologues, deaf studies, drama education for pupils with Special Needs.

In parallel with acting, he has been teaching for just over 2 decades, initially drama, before for a short spell teaching mathematics at a Special Needs school in Birmingham. At around the same time, he began teaching BSL, in conjunction with Linguistics, Deaf Awareness, History, Culture and Politics at various training centres in the UK.

Following the demise of the BA TAEDS course, Ilan started working with the Department of Languages and Culture (DLC) and playing a key part in the creation and development of the new BSL stages 1,2 & 3 as an optional module for any degree at the University of Reading. He continues at IoE lecturing on ‘Inclusion within education’ and ‘Education of deaf children’

Having graduated with BSc Mathematics in 1988, he then obtained a PGCE in 2013. Currently, he is a part-time PhD student looking at the Employability of Deaf adults; and separately is part of the Leverhulme-funded research project looking at Assistive Technology supporting deaf, dyslexic and ESOL students.