Deafness in Ethiopia
Ethiopia is one of the least developed countries in the world, ranking 174th on the Human Development Index (HDI, 2015). For those living with a disability in addition to everyday hardships and grinding poverty, isolation and marginalization are almost a foregone conclusion.
With a staggering best estimate of 1 – 2.5 million Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ethiopians, the situation for the majority of these individuals is quite dismal. There are virtually no public services or formal opportunities for education, employment, or social inclusion & mobility. Very little is being done at present to organize or advocate for this community who suffer daily injustices, stigmatization, and exclusion. While there are a handful of Deaf schools and societies, best estimates show that the vast majority (upwards of 90%) of Deaf persons nationwide are left out of formal education entirely and almost none will ever access formal employment.
In an effort to help develop Deaf civil society in Ethiopia, KCSN has committed itself to empowering other local leaders and change-makers to develop the necessary infrastructure, awareness, and programs to be able to improve the lives of Deaf Ethiopians nationally.
For more information on the prevalence of disabilities worldwide, please check out this report from UN Enable: http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=18
You can also read a report on Deafness in Ethiopia from one of our partner organizations (Visions Global Empowerment – USA) here: http://visionsglobalempowerment.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Visions-Ethiopia-Empowering-Deaf-Youth-Communities-An-Overview1.pdf