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Deaf in Guatemala


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Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
132,000 Guatemalan Sign Language Christianity 96.12 % Unknown No No   

Deaf in Guatemala

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Introduction / History
There are two main definitions of what it means to be Deaf : socio-cultural, the heart of which is sign language use and an involvement within Deaf culture, and physiological-medical, which focuses on hearing loss. Forty percent of all Guatemalans with a significant degree of hearing loss are believed to use a sign language, making between 28 and 256 thousand Deaf Guatemalans with a Deaf ethno-linguistic identity. This profile primarily focuses on these Deaf Guatemalans.

Deaf people live scattered throughout the entire country, with the greatest concentration in the capital city. The primary sign language variety of Guatemala is called El Lenguaje de Señas Guatemalteco (LENSEGUA). In areas with little access to education, such as in the northern Peten, Deaf people are never exposed to a fully developed language. Because of communication barriers and lack of shared experience with hearing people, Deaf people tend to socialize within the Deaf community.

Marginalized Deaf people have limited access to social services. Most Deaf people are unemployed, and less than 50% of Deaf Guatemalans receive formal education. The education they do receive is often ineffective. Of the twelve Deaf schools, none offer secondary education. Deaf people who want further education often do so without interpreters.

Following overall trends, Deaf people are mostly culturally Christian (Catholic or Protestant). However, there are no self-sustaining Deaf churches, and less than 1% of Deaf Guatemalans have accepted, let alone understood, the Gospel. There are less than 100 attendees in the seven Deaf ministries within hearing churches, and only two of these ministries are Deaf -led. To every 3-28 thousand Deaf people, there is less than one missionary/pastor/evangelist. There is no Scripture translated into LENSEGUA and literacy in their second language, Spanish, is very low. Six Deaf Christian leaders hope to plant churches in the two largest cities. Many want to know more about Christ and have an openness to cross-cultural workers of all kinds.

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15 and Learning to Speak
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Country: Guatemala
Continent: North America
Region: America, Latin
10/40 Window: No
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Country Map:Political map
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: 132,000
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: Guatemalan Sign Language
Language Code (ISO): gsm    Ethnologue Listing
Secondary Languages:
American Sign Language (Unknown)
Total Languages: 2
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Christianity
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.05 % 
Christianity96.12 %(Evangelical: Data not available)
Ethnic Religions0.32 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.01 % 
Non-Religious3.50 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
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 larger relative representation among all who claim to be Christians.
Least-Reached: No
GSEC Status:Level 1   Less than 2% Evangelical. Some evangelical resources available, but no active church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: Help start a Bible Translation
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Ministry Resources [7]
Text / Printed MatterDoor International
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Deaf in Guatemala

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Deaf     America, Latin    
      Deaf Guatemala    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Deaf in Guatemala          
      Religion Language  
      Christianity     Guatemalan Sign Language  
    All Religions                              

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