Deaf in Jordan

Photo Source:  Anonymous 
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People Name: Deaf
Country: Jordan
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 57,000
World Population: 49,660,750
Primary Language: Jordanian Sign Language
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 2.24 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: Deaf
Affinity Bloc: Deaf
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Kingdom of Jordan is a small country in the Middle East, bordered by Israel and the Palestinian areas to the West, Syria to the North, Iraq to the East and Saudi Arabia to the South and South-East. Most of the country is desert and the population is centered in urban areas in the western part of the country.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The official language of Jordan is Arabic, which refers to Modern Standard Arabic, not the language that most people speak, which is very different and is referred to as "dialect." Both Arabic and English are required subjects in schools.

The Deaf in Jordan rely on sign language to have access to Scriptures (which is not to say they all know Jordanian Sign Language, since many isolated Deaf people in rural areas might not have a real language at all, using only home signs.) Jordanian Sign Language appears to be closely related to that of Lebanon and Syria. A dissertation, an introductory grammar and several linguistic articles about Jordanian Sign Language have been published. And there are some articles that deal with lexical comparisons between various Arabic sign languages.

A change in attitude, especially over the last 25 years, has made it possible for care and rehabilitation resources to come to Jordan. Better education for the deaf, as well as acceptance of their sign language as a real language, plays an important role in providing these services. Jordan has 13 schools for the Deaf (2006) with around 850 children enrolled. The Deaf schools, together with Deaf clubs in the major cities, form communities in which the sign language is transmitted.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The majority of Jordanian families are Sunni Muslim, though they depend on the spirit world for their daily needs. Around 5% of the population is registered as being Christian. There is some receptivity among the Deaf from this group but few of them have ever had access to the gospel in a way they can understand. Obviously, there is not this same receptivity among those from a Muslim background. However, all Deaf people seem more open to ideas presented in sign language (including the gospel) than most hearing Muslims would be to a written version of the gospel.

What Are Their Needs?

Like people everywhere, the Deaf people in Jordan need to allow the loving Savior to direct their lives. They need his forgiveness for sin.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Lord to intervene in their families, calling people to his side.

Pray for loving workers to help with their practical and spiritual needs.

Pray for their hearts to be drawn to the Lord of lords.

Pray for a church planting movement to thrive in Jordan.

Text Source:   Joshua Project