What is World Federation of the Deaf (WFD)?

The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) is an international, non-governmental central organisation of national associations of Deaf people. WFD has a policy of closely collaborating with its member organisations. This close interaction ensures that WFD’s work truly reflects the best interests of Deaf people, by having member input from planning through implementation and follow-up. WFD also gives its member organisations encouragement and support in their own efforts and offers its expertise when organisations are launching new projects.

Where is the headquarters located?

Helsinki, Finland in the headquarters of the Finnish Association of the Deaf

When was WFD founded?


What is the organization’s focus?

Human, Civil, and Linguistic rights of Deaf people.

What is Deaf Rights?

To improve

  • The status of sign languages
  • Education for Deaf people
  • Access to information and services
  • Human rights for Deaf people in developing countries
  • Is sign language the same all over the world?

    No.  Each language is unique with distinct culture expressed by visible hand gestures. Just as spoken languages have evolved throughout the world, various signed languages have also emerged in different parts of the world.  The languages may differ from region to region and country to country.

    How many deaf people are in the world?

    Approximately 70 million

    Is it OK to use the term “deaf-mute”, “deaf and dumb” or “hearing impaired” in reference to a deaf person who can’t talk?

    No, it’s no longer an acceptable term.

    How can I become a member of World Federation of the Deaf (WFD)?

    There are three categories of membership within the WFD:

    • Individual Members – Anyone desiring to support WFD and its activities may join as Individual Members upon payment of a fee.  Such members are entitled to WFD information and other membership privileges such as having a cheaper registration fee to the World Congress.
    • Associate Members – Any national or regional organisation or institution (hearing- or deaf-run) which does not meet the criteria to become an OM, or cannot become an OM because there is already one in existence in their country, can apply for Associate Membership. Organisations in this category shall be called Associate Members or AMs. AMs must support the aims of WFD and must submit a letter in support of their application from their Ordinary Member. If no Ordinary Member exists in their country, they may be granted a special Associate Membership
    • Ordinary Members – Only national organisations of Deaf people with a clear majority of Deaf voting members, a governing board with a majority of Deaf persons and goals similar to the above-described aims are eligible for admission to the Ordinary Membership category. They have the right to vote at the WFD General Assembly, which occur every four years before the WFD World Congress.

    Does membership fees apply?


    Does WFD have a Youth Section?

    Yes. Check this link: www.wfdys.org

    How can I be involved with WFD?

    You may contact us and we can provide you the listings of local organisations that are affiliated with WFD then you can contact them directly to see how you can help them.

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