Deaf Around the World
The Deaf are the Largest Unreached People Group in the World.
As estimated by the World Federation of the Deaf, there are around 70 million Deaf people around the world. Less than two percent of them have been reached with the gospel, making them the largest unreached people group in the world.
Deaf population estimates tend to vary widely, for several reasons. First among those is that most census agencies and governments view deafness as a disability, not as a language group or culture; therefore, they don’t distinguish between people with hearing disabilites and people who are culturally and linguistically Deaf. Moreover, even those active in the deaf community disagree as to who exactly should be considered culturally deaf, and opinions can vary widely.
DOOR has chosen to use the World Federation of the Deaf estimate when discussing the global deaf population. Whenever possible, we use locally sourced estimates for the population of individual countries and regions; however, the reality is that population data regarding culturally and linguistically Deaf populations is so lacking that any global population estimate could easily be off by tens of millions. We feel that an estimate of 70 million is reasonable for describing the global population of people who could benefit from DOOR’s work of the Deaf reaching Deaf for Christ.
80% of the Deaf people in the world today receive no education at all.
This staggering number also comes from the World Federation of the Deaf. DOOR recognizes the Deaf as a severely underreached and largely ignored population. While DOOR has chosen to use Scripture as one of the first ways to serve this people group, there are many other areas, such as education, where the global Deaf community is in need of development. This lack of education and resources is a key reason why our 2-by-2 teams and training programs focus on multiplying leaders and teachers among the Deaf.
DOOR International's Response
Transformation Beings with Training
As we face the huge challenges ahead of us, we believe that that best place to begin is to train the deaf to reach their own communities. Towards that end, DOOR International has trained more than 1000 Deaf leaders. Areas of training include leadership, evangelism, technical skills, linguistics, and translation.
Deaf reaching Deaf
We believe that no one can bring about transformation in the Deaf community like leaders from that community. DOOR International is dedicated to empowering Deaf people groups to lead the charge in translation, training, and evangelism. To that end, we employ more than 150 full-time Deaf staff members, enabling them to do the work they’re passionate about in their own communities.
Going out two by two
2-by-2 teams are pairs of Deaf leaders which are trained and sent back out to do the work of discipleship, leadership training and church planting in deaf communities around the world. DOOR International has over 40 2-by-2 teams active around the world.
Translation as the Foundation
Chronological Bible Translation is the most culturally appropriate way to communicate God’s Word to Deaf communities. DOOR is dedicated to seeing scripture made available to all Deaf people who need it. Currently, DOOR operates 7 active Bible translation projects worldwide. At present, 26 of the world’s sign languages have some portion of scripture published; DOOR has been involved in more than half of those.
DOOR International and our partners have made the following goal:
By 2025, 50% of the world’s 70 million Deaf will have access to God’s Word in their heart
language and a church planting movement among their own people group.
Just a few years away, this goal will be met through multiplication, partnerships, and strategic planning. This goal is a huge undertaking, and we need your help to meet it.