WFD News – April 21

Position Statement on Educational Rights
for Deaf Learners During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond


The WFD has released a Position Statement on Educational Rights for Deaf Learners During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond.The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on access to education has significantly impacted deaf learners. Around the world, deaf children and youth lack access to quality bilingual education in national sign languages, and parents of deaf children lack support for learning sign languages. The WFD calls on all governments to ensure deaf children and youth receive equitable access to information and education in national sign languages during and after the pandemic, including:

  • Access to instruction by sign language-proficient teachers and the provision of visual learning materials.
  • Parents of deaf children must also receive support for sign language learning, including remote learning where available, to support family communication and children’s language development.

WFD 70th Anniversary Webinar Series!


"The Journey towards Inclusive Employment: Lessons from Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa and Ghana"

The WFD represents the human rights and the interests of more than 70 million deaf people globally, including the economic and social rights to access a fair and inclusive labour market in their national sign language.

As of 2011, the International Labour Organization (ILO) states that approximately 80% of persons with disabilities, including deaf people, are of working age. However, most persons with disabilities, including deaf people, specifically in Global South countries, currently live in a situation of poverty. Their prospect of going out of this economic situation through employment is meagre.

This webinar aims to collect information on the status of access tp an inclusive labour market by deaf people in Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa and Uganda.

  • Dr Joseph Murray - WFD President
  • Ashura Michael - WFD-IDA Fellow
  • Djanathi Umuhoza - Rwanda
  • Deborah Iyute - Uganda
  • Chris Nair - South Africa
  • Juventus Nnaah - Ghana
  • Sulayman AbdulMumuni Ujah - Nigeria

UPDATE: The Legal Recognition of National Sign Languages

The World Federation of the Deaf is pleased to continue to provide updated information regarding countries that have legally recognised their national sign languages.This year marks 40 years since the first country, Sweden, recognised their Sign Language in 1981. Since the beginning of 2021, 2 countries, Bulgaria and Norway, have recognised their Sign Language(s). Currently 61 countries have recognised their Sign Language(s). The WFD hopes that this number will continue to increase this year.This infographic shows which UN Member States have explicit legislation that clearly recognises the language as a distinct language for all deaf people in that country.If the infographic is missing any information regarding your own country, please contact us by email to