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Deaf in Jamaica


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Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
15,000 Jamaican Sign Language Christianity 82.91 % Unknown No No   

Deaf in Jamaica

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Introduction / History
The members of the Jamaican Deaf community are located on the Caribbean island of Jamaica. The highest population is found in the capital city of Kingston with other significant populations found in Mandeville, St. Elizabeth parish, and Montego Bay. Though the exact number of signing Deaf people is uncertain, the national Deaf association has estimated that there are 27,000 people with hearing loss.

There are twelve Deaf schools and two vocational training programs. The national Deaf association runs seven schools and one vocational program and religious entities operate the other five schools and vocational program. The association-run schools are pursuing a bilingual approach using both written English and Jamaican Sign Language (JSL), a natural signed language with a distinct grammar from English. Three of the religious schools, which are affiliated, use a Signed English/Total Communication approach (manual signs following English grammar and signing and speaking at the same time) while the other schools use Jamaican Sign Language. Few Deaf students are mainstreamed into hearing classrooms.

Deaf Jamaicans often gather at Deaf associations, Deaf clubs, social gatherings, and religious services where they use Jamaican Sign Language. There is one national Deaf association, headquartered in Kingston. There are several Deaf clubs and regular gathering places where Deaf people socialize during the weekends. There are eleven Deaf religious services—three are evangelical and eight are Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Halls. Some churches provide interpreted services. There are few, or no, resources available in JSL although there are English-language books with biographies of Deaf Jamaicans.

Many Deaf Jamaicans have difficulty securing employment, but the people who do have jobs are often employed in Deaf education, association-related, or manual labor positions. The Jamaican Deaf community is unified with a common identity and is very proud to have its own Jamaican Deaf culture. Jamaican Deaf people indicate that their primary community development needs are more skilled interpreters, a Jamaican Sign Language dictionary, and improved education.

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15 and Learning to Speak
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Country: Jamaica
Continent: North America
Region: America, North and Caribbean
10/40 Window: No
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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: 15,000
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: Jamaican Sign Language
Language Code (ISO): jls    Ethnologue Listing
Secondary Languages:
Konchri Sain (Unknown)
Total Languages: 2
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Christianity
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity82.91 %(Evangelical: Data not available)
Ethnic Religions10.39 % 
Hinduism0.65 % 
Islam0.30 % 
Non-Religious4.65 % 
Other / Small1.10 % 
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 0   No evangelical Christians or churches. No access to major evangelical print, audio, visual, or human resources
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
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Deaf in Jamaica

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Deaf     America, North and Caribbean    
      Deaf Jamaica    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Deaf in Jamaica          
      Religion Language  
      Christianity     Jamaican Sign Language  
    All Religions                              

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