Deaf in Cambodia

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

Most deaf people in Cambodia have not had opportunities for education. Deaf people have language challenges and many families do not know their child is hearing impaired until later in life. Cambodian families frequently try to cure their deaf children through folk medicines and magic rituals. Many families do not know Cambodian Sign Language and education programs available in sign language. Since most rural families in Cambodia fit into the category of being impoverished, the deaf in those families live in poverty. Only portions of the Bible are available in Cambodian sing langue.

Cambodia gained its independence from France in 1953. The communist Khmer Rouge ruled from 1975 to 1979 murdering up to a quarter of the population. Today Cambodia is officially a constitutional monarch but in actuality a one-party authoritarian state. On a positive note, the Cambodian economy is growing at a rapid rate.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Many hearing-impaired people in Cambodia live in rural places a long way from the cities. There often is no appropriate help for the deaf in those regions. Because of the fear human trafficking, parents do not want to send their children far away in order to get them help.

Most teachers do not know Cambodian sign language to help the deaf population. In addition to the area of education, sign language interpreters are also needed for public organizations such as hospitals, courts of law and financial departments. Hearing impaired people often live isolated lives with complete dependence on their families. The deaf in rural areas often work as unskilled agricultural laborers with little hope of bettering their lives.

What are Their Beliefs

Most hearing-paired people in Cambodia are Buddhists. This religion is followed by over four fifths of Cambodia’s population. Buddhism is the major world religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama or the Buddha. He lived in the 6th and 5th century BC in ancient India. The Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths by which one can gain spiritual knowledge and escape the endless cycles of reincarnation.

Theravada, one of the two major branches of Buddhism, declares that by following the Noble Eightfold Path of right intentions and right actions that a Buddhist can achieve nirvana or a state of freedom and salvation. The vast majority of Buddhists also practice animism, a belief in the spirit world. In animism, evil spirits must be appeased through prayers, sacrifices and rituals. For most Buddhists in Cambodia, these traditional practices are where their hearts are.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Cambodian deaf community needs to be shown the love of Christ in practical ways. Teachers can teach Cambodian sign language to deaf people and their families. Christian workers can teach hearing-impaired people job skills so they can gain some independence from their families.

What Are Their Needs?

Pray that Cambodian Christians who know Sign Language will lead the hearing-impaired to Jesus Christ.

Pray against human trafficking in Cambodia.

Pray for that the Lord sends workers to help the deaf community in Cambodia.

Pray that more people learn Cambodian sign language and use it to help the deaf Cambodians.

Prayer Points

Scripture Prayers for the Deaf in Cambodia.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Deaf
People Name in Country Deaf
Pronunciation def
Population this Country 126,000
Population all Countries 49,091,000
Total Countries 216
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 1  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed 3
Alternate Names
People ID 19007
ROP3 Code 114916
Country Cambodia
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Country Cambodia
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked

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Ethnolinguistic map or other map

Primary Language Cambodian Sign Language (126,000 speakers)
Language Code csx   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Cambodian Sign Language (126,000 speakers)
Language Code csx   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Cambodian Sign Language

Primary Language:  Cambodian Sign Language

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (2021)
Bible-New Testament No
Bible-Complete No
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name
None reported  
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religion Percent
83.34 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
3.13 %
Ethnic Religions
7.65 %
0.22 %
2.30 %
2.97 %
Other / Small
0.39 %
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
Other Christian
Roman Catholic
Photo Source (Representative photo)
Faysal Khan - Pixabay  Creative Commons 
Profile Source Joshua Project  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more