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Deaf in Bangladesh


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Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
1,283,000 West Bengal Sign Language Islam 0.66 % Unknown No No   

Deaf in Bangladesh

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Introduction / History
In Bangladesh, the people who use sign language as their primary means of communication are an unreached people group using the Bangla dialect of the Bengali Sign Language.

During India's partition in 1947, Hindus moved west to what is now the Indian state of West Bengal and Muslims living in the west moved east to the region that became Bangladesh. Over time the two groups have developed separate dialects, the West Bengal Sign Language (WBSL) in West Bengal and the Bangla Sign Language (BaSL) in Bangladesh. Previously it has been thought that the Deaf in this region use Indian Sign Language (ISL). However, current research the great majority of the Deaf do not know ISL but use Bengali Sign Language and that it is a different language from ISL.

Where are they located?
Greater concentrations of Deaf occur in the larger cities that have more resources for them. Deaf people who know sign language generally interact with other Deaf in many different groups, clubs, schools etc. Most members of the Deaf community, however, are not aware of how many deaf are isolated to their own neighborhood or home and have yet to learn BaSL.

What are their needs?
The needs among the 1.5 million Bangladeshi deaf include the 99.9% who don't know the Lord, the 100% without a Bible in their mother-tongue, the 97% who could not understand a Bible even if they had one because they don't know BaSL, the 99.5% without any education, and the 40% unemployed. These factors make the Bangladeshi Deaf an oppressed and to varying levels, depressed people group.

Many Deaf are receptive to the gospel's hope and love message. However the risk of converting is subject to intense pressure from their hearing families to keep the "traditional" religious values.

Prayer Points
Pray for the 1.5 million Bangladeshi Deaf, for the 97% of the Deaf who have no language and the 98.8% that have no education, for the 20 - 30% unemployed among the educated Deaf and an unknown much higher number of unemployed among the uneducated and home-bound Deaf.
Pray for the Bangladesh Government to establish more schools for the Deaf.
Pray for workers among the Deaf to learn sign language.
Pray for resources for the Deaf and a Bible in their own language
Pray for awareness of the Deaf to recognize and include Deaf as unreached people groups and to advocate for the Deaf

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Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2020-06-30
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Country: Bangladesh
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, South
Persecution Rank:30 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Submit Map:
Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other 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: 1,283,000
Population all Countries: 49,091,000
Least-Reached: Yes
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: West Bengal Sign Language
Language Code (ISO): wbs    Ethnologue Listing
Secondary Languages:
Indian Sign Language (Unknown)
Total Languages: 2
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.60 % 
Christianity0.66 %(Evangelical: Data not available)
Ethnic Religions0.49 % 
Hinduism9.10 % 
Islam89.01 % 
Non-Religious0.11 % 
Other / Small0.03 % 
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]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
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]
None Reported
Ministry Activity
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Description: Register your ministry activity among this people group. Contact the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Unleashed for the Unreached to learn about others that might be focused on this people group.
Data Notes
Data Sources

Deaf in Bangladesh

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Deaf     Asia, South    
      Deaf Bangladesh    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Deaf in Bangladesh          
      Religion Language  
      Islam     West Bengal Sign Language  
    All Religions                              

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