One of the most marginalized groups in Somalia is the deaf community.

 They are faced with a number of challenges and obstacles, which include discrimination, social exclusion, and limited access to communication and educational opportunities. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that only 2% of Somalia’s 120,000 deaf population has access to both education and employment.

These issues are made more challenging by the country’s linguistic diversity, where different regions speak various languages, including Somali Sign Language (SSL), and the primary language spoken by the Somali Deaf community.

However, it’s important to understand how technological advancements can allow deaf Somalians to benefit from linguistic diversity. 

In this article, we look at the various ways that technology in Somalia is supporting linguistic diversity for the deaf.

Promoting Access to Education

Photo by MONUSCO

Long-standing problems with Somalia’s educational system include a lack of certified teachers, a lack of funding, and limited access to facilities for learning. 

The situation is even worse for the deaf community because most of them have little access to formal education.

Technology has, however, given the deaf community in Somalia a way to support linguistic diversity and access to education.

One method of using technology to support linguistic diversity in the educational setting is through online educational platforms.

These online resources provide users with access to tools and educational materials made specifically for the deaf community, such as SSL-captioned videos, images, and animations. 

These tools make it possible for deaf students to access high-quality instruction from anywhere in the country without having to physically attend classes.

Another example is the use of mobile applications that provide SSL learning materials. 

These programs have grown in popularity as a result of the customized, interactive, and interesting learning opportunities they offer to the deaf community in Somalia. 

The use of such programs has increased the deaf population of Somalia’s access to education and assisted in preserving and promoting the nation’s rich linguistic diversity.

Improving Communication

One of the main issues the deaf community in Somalia faces is communication. 

Many deaf people in Somalia struggle with social isolation and exclusion.

This is a result of their limited access to formal education and employment opportunities.

But with technology, deaf people in Somalia can now communicate more effectively and support linguistic diversity.

The use of video conferencing software is one example of how they are utilizing technology to enhance communication.

Technology advancements have made video conferencing an important tool for the deaf community, allowing them to converse with both other deaf people and hearing people who can understand SSL. 

With video conferencing, they can communicate with one another in their own language, preserving and promoting linguistic diversity.

Another illustration is the growing popularity of Facebook and Twitter among Somalia’s deaf population. 

These channels give deaf people a way to communicate, share knowledge, and access a wide range of languages. 

As the deaf community in Somalia uses social media to raise awareness of their needs and rights, these platforms have developed into crucial tools for advocacy and activism.

Enhancing Employment Opportunities

When it comes to employment opportunities, the deaf community in Somalia faces significant obstacles. 

The fact that so many deaf people in Somalia have limited access to formal education and communication services makes it difficult for them to find work. 

However, thanks to technology, Somalia can now benefit from language diversity and more deaf people can find work there.

Online job boards are one way that technology is enhancing employment opportunities for the deaf community in Somalia.

These platforms offer access to job postings that are specific to the deaf community and call for SSL expertise. 

These platforms enable deaf people in Somalia to find employment opportunities that are suitable for their skills and abilities, preserving and fostering linguistic diversity.

The practice of remote work is another example. 

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have adopted remote work to ensure business continuity. 

The deaf community in Somalia can now benefit from employment opportunities that were previously out of their reach.

Deaf people can work remotely from any location in the nation without having to be present in person at their places of employment.

The ability for deaf people to communicate in SSL has greatly improved employment opportunities for the deaf community and promoted linguistic diversity.

Promoting Access to Health Services

There are a lot of obstacles that prevent the Somali Deaf community from receiving healthcare services.

The lack of SSL training among many Somali healthcare professionals makes it challenging for them to interact with deaf patients. 

As a result, the health outcomes between the deaf and hearing populations in Somalia are significantly different. 

Nevertheless, due to technology, deaf people in Somalia now have better access to healthcare and a wider variety of languages.

Telemedicine is the best example of how technology enables the deaf community in Somalia to obtain medical care. 

The practice of delivering medical care remotely through technology is known as telemedicine. 

Telemedicine allows deaf people in Somalia to receive medical care from any location in the country without having to go to a hospital. 

Additionally, telemedicine enables medical staff to converse in SSL with deaf patients, fostering language diversity and enhancing the health of the deaf in Somalia.

Another example is the use of mobile apps that offer health data in SSL.

Since they provide information in SSL on a range of medical topics, these programs are becoming more and more well-liked among the deaf community in Somalia.

With these applications, deaf people in Somalia can access health information catered to their needs, fostering linguistic diversity and improving the health of deaf people in general.


The linguistic diversity of the deaf community in Somalia has been significantly impacted by technology. 

It has facilitated the deaf community’s ability to interact with one another, find employment, and gain access to healthcare services—all of which have aided in safeguarding and fostering linguistic diversity. 

For the deaf community in Somalia, there is still much to be done to support linguistic diversity. 

The government, as well as other interested parties, must invest in technology and make sure that the deaf community has access to it, as well as the abilities and knowledge required to use it effectively. 

In addition to encouraging linguistic diversity, this will make sure that the deaf community in Somalia keeps up with the rest of society in the digital age.

For those who are looking for additional support, Unspoken Language Services offers interpreting services to help bridge the communication gap between the deaf and hearing communities.

Thumbnail Photo Credit to: photo by MONUSCO