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Deaf in Ethiopia


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Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
1,120,000 Ethiopian Sign Language Christianity 60.68 % 18.50 % No   

Deaf in Ethiopia

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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 Deaf Ethiopians, 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 Deaf children to Christian-run schools. This is a people group in need of someone willing to reach out to them.

View Deaf in all countries.

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15 and Learning to Speak
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Country: Ethiopia
Continent: Africa
Region: Africa, East and Southern
Persecution Rank:39 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
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Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Deaf
People Name General: Deaf
ROP3 Code: 114916
Joshua Project People ID: 19007
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 1,120,000
Population all Countries: 46,968,000
Least-Reached: No
Affinity Bloc: Deaf
People Cluster: Deaf
People Name General: Deaf
Ethnic Code:
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Ethiopian Sign Language (1,120,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): eth    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Christianity
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity60.68 %(Evangelical: 18.50 %)
Ethnic Religions3.70 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam34.10 % 
Non-Religious1.50 % 
Other / Small0.02 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Evangelicals have a significant presence.
Least-Reached: No
GSEC Status:Level 2   Less than 2% Evangelical. Initial (localized) church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 2011–2014
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament (FCBH)
Text / Printed MatterDoor International
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Deaf in Ethiopia

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Deaf     Africa, East and Southern    
      Deaf Ethiopia    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Deaf in Ethiopia          
      Religion Language  
      Christianity     Ethiopian Sign Language  
    All Religions                              

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