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Basic information of the country/area
Name of the country/area Eritrea
Formal name of the country/area State of Eritrea
Country/area information The World Factbook (CIA)
Wikipedia (English)


Indigenous signs for "Eritrea"

Illustrations in the literature

"Eritrea" (In: Japanese Federation of the Deaf ed. Supervisor: Hedberg, Tomas. 2003. Country name-signs. Helsinki, Finland: World Federation of the Deaf. 93.)

Spoken languages




Sign languages

Eritrean Sign Language

Population of Deaf/deaf people

The National Government’s official number of Deaf people : 20,000. National Deaf Association of Eritrea's official or approximate number of Sign Language Users: 5,000. (WFD. 2008. Global Survey Report. : See Bibliography below.)

Legal status of sign languages

  • Status of the National Sign Language(s) from WFD. 2008. Global Survey Report. (See Bibliography below).

1. The country’s government does not formally recognise the country’s sign language(s).

2. Deaf Association/Deaf Group lobbies the government for the recognition of the country’s sign language(s).

Organizations and associations of the Deaf/deaf

  • National Eritrean Deaf Association (WFD member, data in 2002, cited from "Signs of country names" (Japanese edition, Japan Institute for Sign Language Studies ed. 2002. Tokyo: Japanese Federation of the Deaf))

Institutes, associations and universities for sign language studies

Education for the deaf

  • Access to Education from WFD. 2008. Global Survey Report. (See Bibliography below).

1.The government does not recognizes that Deaf children and Deaf students have the right to receive an education.

2.Legislation or policies on Deaf Education:


3.The government provides those educational settings for Deaf children and Deaf students:


4.The government provides bilingual education using the country’s sign language(s) for Deaf children and Deaf students in those educational settings:


5.Total number of schools specifically for Deaf children and Deaf students in the country, and the educational approach for communicating with Deaf children and students at the Deaf School:

Two Deaf Schools owned by missionaries – Non-Governmental Schools for Deaf
Oral Method
Oral and Sign Language (Total Communication)

6.Deaf people’s access to a University education and sign language interpreting services at University:

One University and college but no deaf people have reached the university level - there is no sign language interpreting service.

Sign language interpretation

  • Status of Sign Language Interpreting Services from WFD. 2008. Global Survey Report. (See Bibliography below).

1.The number of sign language interpreters in the country:

30 interpreters (including staff, interpreters of our association, school teachers of the deaf, families and friends)

2.Sign language interpreting qualifications in the country:

There is.

3.The provider of the training for people who want to become qualified sign language interpreters:

National Association of the Deaf

4.Total years of training to become a sign languate interpreters:

Less than One Year: If qualified teachers and good books are available it can be mastered within six months.

5.The number of sign language interpreters who have formal interpreting qualifications in the country:

About 10 interpreters

6.The way Deaf people access sign language interpreters:

By requesting the Deaf Association to make arrangements and appointments. The Association is ready to solve the issues and problems of the Deaf by sending interpreters when needed.

7.The provier of the sign language interpreting services:

National Association of the Deaf

8.The area of life sign language interpreting services are available:

Social Services
Health/Medical Services
Employment Services
Court Services
Educational Services
Counselling Services
Financial Institutions

9.The payment for interpreting services, and those who are responsible for paying:

Sign language interpreters receive payment for interpreting services
National Association of the Deaf/Deaf Group pays

10.The average hourly rate of payment for sign language interpreters:

100 Eri Currency (Nasfa) (8.60€ on 31st May 2008).

11.Sign language interpreters provide voluntary service for all sign language interpreting assignments.

12.National Association of Sign Language Interpreters:


13.National Code of Ethics for sign language interpreters:


14.Legislation or policy in the country which states that the government has a responsibility for the provision of sign language :


Deaf communities and cultures

Religious activities by the Deaf

Famous Deaf persons and hearing persons concerned with sign languages

Sign language dictionaries

The country does not have a sign language dictionary ( WFD. 2008. Global Survey Report. (See Bibliography below)).


WASLI (World Association of Sign Language Interpreters). 2011. WASLI Activities Report 2007-2011. Kampala, UGANDA.

World Federation of the Deaf and Swedish National Association of the Deaf. 2008. Global Survey Report. WFD Regional Secretariat for Southern and Eastern Africa (WFD RSESA). Global Education Pre-Planning Project on the Human Rights of Deaf People. World Federation of the Deaf. Finland.

Moges, Rezenet. 2006. Construction in Eritrean Sign Language: an Anthropological Linguistic Perspective. In : Conference paper from TISLR-9 (9th. Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research Conference), Florianopolis, Brazil; Poster Session.

Moges, Rezenet. 2005=2006. Constructing the Sign Language of Eritoria. In:Sign Language Communication Studies(Japan Institute for Sign Language Studies, Japanese Federation of the Deaf) 59(2006.03):67. (translated by Kamei, Nobutaka. in Japanese)[ Report of American Anthropological Association 104th Annual Meeting Washington DC Dec. 1. 2005 7:45 PM–9:30 PM. "Endangered World Languages : Sign Languages and Their Variations"]

Markku, Sassi. 1997. Special Teacher Diploma Course for the Teachers of the Deaf in Ethiopia and Eritrea. In: Kokkala, Heikki. ed. Providing Special Education For Those Who Need It In Developing Countries. Helsinki: Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 140–47.

Galaidos, Neguse. 1992. A short report of the Evangelical Church School for the Deaf in Keren and Asmara. In: Finnish Association of the Deaf ed. East African sign language seminar, Debre Zeit, Ethoipia, August 10-16,1990. Helsinki: Finnish Association of the Deaf. 85.


History of sign language research



Deaf cultures and Sign Languages of the world: Eritrea


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