Deaf cultures and Sign Languages of the world: Kenya (Kenya)

Created 10 April 2000, links updated monthly with the help of LinkAlarm.

Kenyan flag David Bar-TzurKenyan flag

map of Kenya

Flag: World flag database.
Map: - "search" for country, then "Digital Map Graphics").

For a quick, interesting resource for facts about this and other countries,
try Mystic Planet - The New Age directory of Planet Earth.

Note: A flag next to a link shows what language the website is in. If it is followed by this icon: (video camera: This links to a video), it is a video in that spoken language. A flag followed by Sign Language iconmeans it is in the sign language of that country. globe (international icon)Sign Language iconmeans there is International Gesture.

Blogs and vlogs Deaf advocacy and politics Deafblind Deaf culture Deaf education
Deaf health Deaf history and current events Deaf performing arts Deaf sports & recreation Kenyan Sign Language
Kenyan Sign Language dictionaries Organizations Religion & Deafness

Blogs and vlogs

Mzee Bubu - Deaf Pride of Kenya.

Deaf advocacy and politics Kenya National Deaf Women Peace Network. KNDWP-NET is a Deaf women’s peace and human rights advocacy group out to build capacity of deaf women and lobby for inclusion and betterment in the conditions of the deaf members of society.

Kane-Lee, E. (2007, April 17). A TIME TO GLOW: Empowering girls in Kenya.


Deaf culture

Deaf People Around the World are like One Family. Deaf since he was 10 years old, Ogolla, a former president of the Kenya Association of the Deaf who was working for a pesticide company, had never heard of the university--Gallaudet University, in Washington, D.C. But he decided immediately to go there. He wanted to fullfill his lifelong dream of getting a college education and live in a country "where deaf people have power." Now he is a senior at Gallaudet University, planning to enter graduate school, and, eventually, take some of that power back to Kenya.

International Bibliography of Sign Language - Kenya.

Oganda, M. (2006, December 2). Shattering the myth of deafness and music. As the flag is raised, it is time to sing the Kenya national anthem. Surprise, surprise! They belt out the tune: "O God of all creation, bless this our land and nation, justice be our shield and defender." The pupils [of the Machakos School for the Deaf] sing their hearts out without skipping a line or losing tempo, except it’s all in silence.

Oviedo, A. (2003). Diario de viaje de un venezolano por Kenia. Barinas: Asociación de Escritores del Estado Barinas. 64 págs. A mediados del año 2000 hice un viaje a Kenia, a visitar a Peter Oracha Adoyo, un educador de ese país que escribía su tesis doctoral en el mismo instituto alemán donde escribía yo la mía. Peter se encontraba en su país recogiendo datos para su investigación acerca de la educación de los Sordos en Kenia. Yo decidí unírmele, y pasé un mes entre Maseno, un poblado en la tierra de los lúo, cerca de Uganda, y Nairobi, la capital de Kenia. Este libro resume las notas que hice durante mi viaje, que eran notas llenas de asombro por todo lo nuevo que allí pude ver, y por todos los lazos que descubrí entre los venezolanos y estos pueblos del Africa negra.

World Deaf directory - Kenya.

YouTube - bakarsh's Channel.Kenyan flagSign Language icon

Deaf education

Barry Harrington's visit to Kenya.

stained glass ballCBM - Nancy trägt ein Hörgerät - Kommunikation in zwei Welten - Christoffel Blindenmission.

Curriculum and Instruction 615. Most of the school and institutions that were set up for students with disabilities were begun by missionaries or religious organizations. The Salvation Army established the oldest school for the blind in Thika, and Catholic missionaries begun several schools for deaf children.

Deaf students dancing beautifully at Machakos School for the Deaf!

EENET. (2005). Transforming education systems to respond to all learners: Experience from Oriang Cheshire Inclusive Education Project. This paper highlights the key initiatives undertaken through the support of Leonard Cheshire International (LCI) to rehabilitate persons with disabilities using a community-based participatory approach. This is in line with the resolution and education master plan of the Jomtien Conference of 1990 which states in one of the articles: '.. steps need to be taken to provide equal access to education to every category of disabled persons as an integral part of the education system.'

Kenya: Teaching HIV Prevention Through Sign Language (August 2006).

Kibarani camera: This links to a videoThis clip includes the following shots at the Kibarani School for the Deaf: an introduction to the school by Gary Olsen, classrooms built by Rotarians, the construction of a hearing aid, and disbursements of candy to students. Spliced and edited by Michael Olsen.

kimerimeti: Pupils of Kibarani School for the Deaf, Kilifi, Kenya. Kimerimeti is Kiswahili for firefly. A lightning bug who shines its light in unexpected places at unexpected times is a metaphor germane to my experiences in Kenya.

Mwarania, S. (14 August 1996). Letter. The second recipient of the International Deaf Education and Advancement Fund scholarship was Santina Mwarania in 1995. She wrote the following letter to explain what she knows of life for deaf and hard of hearing people in Kenya at the time she left home in 1990 and her plans for when she returns.


golden marble bullet(nd). Kenya. The Kenya Society for Deaf Children have produced a series of information leaflets for parents covering a range of topics. "Assessment of hearing loss in Children." (1080 kb) This leaflet provides information on when to assess a child's hearing and the most common types of assessment that are available. "Hearing Aids." (1217 kb) This leaflet explains all about the different types of hearing aids, where they are available and how to use and care for them. "How to Communicate with the Deaf." (1661 kb) This leaflet explains all the different types of communication used by deaf and hard of hearing children. "Services available in Kenya." (1828 kb) This leaflet provides information about all the different services available in Kenya for deaf and hard of hearing children. It inclusdes information about how to access hearing aids, interpretation, speech therapy, and schools for deaf children. "What is the impact of hearing impairment?" (1835 kb) This is a leaflet gives basic information about how hearing loss can affect a child and their family and gives ideas about where a child can go for support. "Noise pollution and its effects/" (81 kb) This leaflet gives basic information on the effects of noise pollution in and around the workplace as well as statistics on the dangers of noise pollution.

golden marble bullet(2006, February 26). Rights Based Best Practices in Working with Deaf Children. In Kenya many deaf children are unaware of their rights. Deaf children's specific needs are not met in planning or policy making, and deaf children are not mentioned specifically in the national budget, family protection bill or HIV/AIDS bill. This project will enable us to develop a proactive deaf children's rights lobby group at a national level to ensure increased awareness of deaf children's rights, the inclusion of a deaf children's agenda in the national budget.

golden marble bullet(2005, February 1). Training for parents in Kenyan Sign Language. KSDC will use volunteers to raise awareness and generate interest in the project. Trainers from the University of Nairobi sign language research project will then train a group of 40 parents in sign language. A training of trainers (TOT) approach will be used which will equip these parents with the skills to offer basic KSL training to other members of their communities. The parents will also then deliver a home-based training programme to 60 deaf children, 40 siblings and 40 parents. Parents groups will be established and will be supported in lobbying activities. Youth groups will also be established for young deaf people who have not attended school and educated young people who have a good grasp of KSL will lead these groups. Three 30-week play schemes will also be started in four of the largest slums of Nairobi and these will offer basic KSL training to young children and will encourage parents to consider their children's education in the future.

Shettle, A. (2004, Spring). Deaf Children with Additional Disabilities in Developing Countries, Kenya and Kenya resources. - Tuma S. Mwarasi. I am 35 years old and I am partially deaf. I worked as a Tailoring instructor. I was a former student of this school. I schooled here in the Kwale School for the Deaf from 1977 till 1984. After completion of my primary education I proceeded to Mumias Vocational School for the deaf girls from 1985 till 1988. On completion I had attended grade 3, then grade 2, and thaw grade 1 certificate in tailoring. After completion I was employed by the county council in 1990 and deployed to Kwale School for the Deaf as an instructor in tailoring in 1991. To date I am still an instructor, a job that I really enjoy. Being deaf like the students I instruct I really like encouraging them to work hard in their education.

Deaf health

Center for Disease Control. (29 August 2002). Kenya: Shocking revelations on HIV/AIDS and deaf children.


golden marble bullet(2004, April 7). Inside a VCT Centre for the Deaf. Long ignored in the HIV/Aids awareness campaigns, deaf people can now learn all there is to know about Aids at this centre, which is staffed with people who can communicate using sign language.

golden marble bullet(2004, March 28). For Africa's Deaf and Blind, AIDS Is an Unknown Language. To say AIDS in Kenyan Sign Language requires placing the index finger and thumb of both hands close to the face, which is supposed to be a re-creation of the skeletal appearance of a victim on the verge of death.

golden marble bullet(2004, January 14). Beauty Breaking the Silence On HIV. "Aids knows no disability!" Susan Mwikali's signs as she runs barefoot on the white expanse of the Serena beach in Mombasa. Tugging along is Kenya's First Lady, Mrs Lucy Kibaki. The two are shooting the first HIV/AIDS commercial.

golden marble bullet(2003, December 16). EA Projects Win World Bank Grants. A Tanzanian project using rats to detect tuberculosis and a Kenyan initiative teaching Aids awareness through Kiswahili sign language are among the winners of a World Bank competition that awards grants for creative responses to development challenges.

golden marble bullet(2003, December 10). NGO wins Sh7m Aids award. A Kenyan organisation has won Sh6.8 million World Bank award for promoting Aids awareness among the deaf. The HIV Awareness Project of the Deaf (Kenya) was honoured particularly for its creativity.

Lacey, M. (2004, March 28). Julie Guberman, a deaf Peace Corps volunteer from Chicago who works at the Kibarani School for the Deaf in Kenya. To say AIDS in Kenyan Sign Language requires placing the index finger and thumb of both hands close to the face, which is supposed to be a re-creation of the skeletal appearance of a victim on the verge of death.

Sahaya International. HIV Awareness Project of the Deaf, Kenya.

Deaf history and current events


golden marble bullet(2005, May 9). Immersion in deaf culture in Kenya was eye-opening. Amber Martin attended mainstream schools while growing up in St. Paul. Martin, who is deaf, started becoming involved with the deaf community during high school. Recently, Martin led a team of volunteers to Kenya, where they worked with administrators, sign language interpreters and deaf students at a teacher's college.

golden marble bullet(2004, September 1). Another VCT for the Deaf Opened. The second Voluntary Counselling and Testing Centre (VCT) for deaf people has been opened in Mombasa.

golden marble bullet(2004, August 5). Teacher takes skills with deaf students to Kenya. Oberstein returned late last month from a teaching trip to the St. Angela's School for the Deaf in Mumias, a town of about 40,000 in a farming region in the western part of the country. She spent nearly four weeks there, mentoring instructors and teaching students.

golden marble bullet(2003, September 24). Nickson Kakiri of Kenya Receives First World Deaf Leadership Scholars Fund. Nickson Ochieng Kakiri, a junior at Gallaudet, is the first recipient of the World Deaf Leadership Scholars Fund which will cover his entire college expenses including the cost of internships related to achieving a degree... "My dream is to set up a program at a university in Kenya for deaf and hard of hearing people to prepare them to come to Gallaudet to pursue their education and develop leadership skills."

golden marble bullet(2003, July 2). 226000 deaf children out of school, says union. Two hundred and twenty six thousand children in Kenya with hearing impairments have no access to formal education, the Kenya Society for Kenya Society of the Physically Handicapped (KSPH) has revealed.

golden marble bullet(2002, November 1). Disabled to support Kibaki. Disability Electoral Power, a National lobby group for the disabled, has declared their support for Opposition Presidential candidate Mwai Kibaki. The group consists of the Kenya Union for the Blind, Kenya Association for the Deaf, and Kenya Society for the Physically Handicapped.

Miles, M. (2005). Deaf people living and communication in African histories, c. 960s - 1960s. There is strong documentary evidence that deaf or hearing impaired men and women, girls and boys, did occupy social space and took roles across the full spectrum of life throughout Africa in earlier centuries, living lives like everyone else and also having some different experiences. Traces and signs of deaf people appear in many sorts of historical document, such as travellers' accounts, legal and genealogical records, government, institutional and missionary archives, linguistic studies, literature, folklore, religious narrative, mime, dance and drama. Many of their experiences have involved severe economic poverty and adversity, stigmatising attitudes and exclusionary practices; yet this has not been the norm everywhere in Africa, and many deaf people have shown great resilience, perseverance, humour and ingenuity in their dealings and communications with the non-deaf world.

Deaf performing arts

Deaf sports & recreation

Kenya Deaf Rugby Association.

Kenyan Sign Language

Bubu, M. (2007, June 26). Peace Corps standardize our language?!?

International bibliography of sign language - Kenya Sign Language. [Webmaster: Many entries!]

Kenyan Sign Language: A language of Kenya.

LearningSignsOnline. (2008, May 20). Learning Kenyan Sign Language.

University of the Free State / Universiteit van die Vrystaat / Yunivesithi Ya Freistata - Mnr Philemon (PAO) Akach.

Kenyan Sign Language dictionaries

Bar-Tzur, D. Indigenous signs for cities: Kenya.

International bibliography of sign language - Kenya Sign Language dictionary.

SignPuddle. Dictionary Kenya.

University of the Free State / Universiteit van die Vrystaat / Yunivesithi Ya Freistata - Mnr Philemon (PAO) Akach.


Kenya National Association of the Deaf, Kenya.

Religion & Deafness

bakarsh. (2008, August 29). muslim Deaf watching friday khudbah. deaf Muslims in Kenya have many benefits according to the deaf Muslims living other Islamic countries in Nairobi the largest mosque in Kenya JAMIA Mosque has every Friday khudbah interpreter for deaf muslims.

Deaf Ministries International. Kenya.

General Board of Global Ministries. (2 May 2001). Deaf women study preaching.

McAnally, T. (2001, April 27). Deaf women to take license-to-preach course.