Historical Background


Rwanda National Union of the Deaf (RNUD) is a registered National non-governmental organization bringing together all categories of Deaf people in Rwanda. RNUD was established in 1989 by Deaf people in the view of uniting and to raise awareness on their needs and concerns. RNUD is a member of the National Union of Disability Organizations of Rwanda (NUDOR) and is affiliated to the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and the works in partnership with Rwanda Governance Board (RGB), and the National Council of Persons with Disabilities (NCPD).

Deaf people formed RNUD after realizing that their needs and concerns were ignored by the wider society. RNUD’s primary task is to look after the interests of Deaf people, communicating in sign language to provide services for them, address their concerns and to act as the expert in deafness. However, the Association collapsed as a result of the genocide that hit Rwanda, in 1994 during which most of the founding members were killed.

Deaf people in Rwanda face a complex web of problems ranging from social, economic, cultural and developmental difficulties, negative attitudes by society towards Deaf people, communication barriers. Poverty further degrades Deaf people’s attainment of dignity and unity and access to jobs and education in their communities and this limits their full enjoyment of the fundamental human rights entitled to all human beings. RNUD is dedicated to advocating for the equal opportunities of Deaf Rwandans and for their human rights as set out in international and national law.