Deaf in Ethiopia

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

15 and Learning to Speak


Introduction / History

The Deaf of Ethiopia live similarly to any other person within their given cultures, but are cut off from meaningful interaction with them. The vast majority of DeafEthiopians, who live in rural areas, spend their lives in extreme isolation. They are looked down upon as mentally deficient and evil because of their lack of speech. In many places they are misunderstood as being a result of sinful behavior, or some form of supernatural curse. They are not seen as suitable marriage partners and may even result in the entire family's loss of status. For this reason they are frequently sheltered even further from the outside world and communicate only with their families or those close to them through small amounts of writing or signing, if they are able.

In towns more awareness has been generated regarding the Deaf. Many parents are eager to send their children to schools, although the resources available are not sufficient for the number of potential students. missionaries, and more so lately, the government, have established several schools for the Deaf. In more recent years clubs for the Deaf have formed in some towns, helping the Deaf to be less isolated and allowing sign language to be brought into use.

Sign language was first taught in Ethiopia by American missionaries and is based on American Sign Language (ASL) and Signed English. It has been modified to suit Ethiopian culture but may still be intelligible with ASL. Much development is needed for resources in Ethiopian Sign Language and for the language itself.

At the two schools that are boarding schools and also in the capital city there are groups of believers. It seems that the Deaf are open to the Gospel, if they are fortunate enough to know someone who can communicate it to them. It is also of significance that, in their desperation, Muslim families are willing to send their Deafchildren to Christian-run schools. This is a people group in need of someone willing to reach out to them.

Profile Source:   Anonymous  
Expanded PDF Profile

People Name General Deaf
People Name in Country Deaf
Population in Ethiopia 0
World Population Unknown
Total Countries 216
Indigenous Yes
Unreached No
Progress Scale 5
GSEC 2  (per
Alternate Names
People ID 19007
ROP3 Code 114916
Country Ethiopia
Region East and Southern Africa
Continent Africa
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 22  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Country Ethiopia
Region East and Southern Africa
Continent Africa
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 22  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)

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Ethnologue Language Map

Primary Language:  Ethiopian Sign Language

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes   (2011–2014)
Bible-New Testament No
Bible-Complete No
Bible-NT Audio Online
Possible Print Bibles
Forum of Bible Agencies
Gospel Go
World Bible Finder
World Bibles
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Text / Printed Matter Door International
Primary Religion: Christianity
Religion Subdivision: Orthodox
Major Religion Percent *
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 19.70 %)
65.00 %
Ethnic Religions
4.00 %
0.00 %
29.00 %
2.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
3.0 %
65.0 %
Other Christian
5.0 %
26.0 %
Roman Catholic
1.0 %
Photo Source Anonymous  
Profile Source Anonymous  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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