Sierra Leone


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Basic information of the country/area
Name of the country/area Sierra Leone
Formal name of the country/area Republic of Sierra Leone
Country/area information The World Factbook (CIA)
Wikipedia (English)


Indigenous signs for "Sierra Leone"

Spoken languages


Sign languages

Sierra Leone Sign Language

Population of Deaf/deaf people

Sierra Leone Association of the Deaf's official or approximate number of Deaf people: 3,000-5,000.; Sign language users : 200. (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 does not lobby the government for the recognition of the country’s sign language(s), because, to lobby the government we need to be well-organised and united with a transparently elected body. At the moment families and teachers of Deaf children, Deaf youth and Deaf adults are organised in different groups, and the groups are not united. As a result we do not work together to advocate for the recognition of our sign language. The members of the groups also lack awareness about themselves and their linguistic identity due to lack of opportunity to raise awareness about sign language. They use different sign languages which are restricted by geographical politics, as a result of which there is no common sign language used by all Deaf people in the country. Similarly, our sign language vocabularies are very limited so we find it difficult to use our sign language to communicate in ‘official’ English.

Organizations and associations of the Deaf/deaf

Sierra Leone Association of the Deaf (SLAD) (WFD member; established in 1995. (WFD. 2008. Global Survey Report. : See Bibliography below.))

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 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:

Primary (From 5/6 years old to 12/13 years old)

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:

3 Deaf Primary Schools
Oral Method
Cued Speech
Other(Deaf students in Sierra Leone receive education mainly in mainstream schools)

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

No information supplied
 Sign language interpreting service is not available

Sign language interpretation

  • There is an association of sign language interpreters in this country. from WASLI Activities Report 2007-2011 (See Bibliography below).
  • 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:

Few Interpreters
(Additional Information) I provide sign language training; missionaries from the Jehovah’s Witness church also provide interpreting services. In fact they show great interest in this area; unfortunately they do not co-operate with the Deaf association but their interpreting is very good. Ei Shammah Mission also organises sign language training workshops.

2. Sign language interpreting qualifications.


3.The provider of the sign language interpreting services:


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

Sign language interpreters do not receive payment for interpreting services

5.Sign language interpreters sometimes provide voluntary service for sign language interpreting assignments.

6.National Association of Sign Language Interpreters:


7.National Code of Ethics for sign language interpreters:


8.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

Life of Deaf

Salesian Home Helps Deaf And Dumb to Earn Money

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 Western and Central Africa Region (WFD WCAR). Global Education Pre-Planning Project on the Human Rights of Deaf People. World Federation of the Deaf. Finland.

Renner-Lisk, E. 1972. National School for the Deaf (Sierra Leone). In: Seminar on Deafness, Accra, Ghana.


History of sign language research



Deaf cultures and Sign Languages of the world: Sierra Leone


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