Introduction / History Deaf ness is a serious disability and exacts a heavy toll for individuals, families, communities and countries. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and is roughly divided in half between Christians who live in the South and Central parts and Muslims who occupy the North. There are about one million Deaf people living throughout the country.
There are several Deaf schools in Nigeria. These schools are usually boarding schools and are frequently supported by the government. However, because parents see their Deaf children as a shame on the family, they are often prevented from attending. Deaf children are often seen as cursed or demon possessed. Less than 40% of Nigeria's Deaf children are enrolled in primary school and even fewer are allowed to continue to secondary school.
Most teachers in the schools for the Deaf in Nigeria do not know or understand Nigerian Sign Language. The schools follow the 'oral method' of attempting to teach Deaf children to speak and lip-read the spoken language – English. Consequently, the Deaf in Nigeria rarely develop good reading skills and are unable to adequately access the truths of God's Word.
There are many hearing churches who have reached out to the Deaf community by using interpreters in their worship services. However, the interpreters are usually untrained and unskilled in the interpreting process and the Deaf are left on the outside, only able to watch the worship take place, but unable to join in or fully understand what is being done and said around them. In the South and Central states there are about 30 Deaf led churches.