Accessible Bibles in Sri Lanka

Imagine you are the only person in your community or church who cannot read the Bible. Others around you access it with ease, but you struggle to understand or even need someone else to read it to you. This is the case for many people in Sri Lanka who have a hearing or visual disability. The Bible Society in Sri Lanka is working to solve this problem.

Accessible Bibles for All

For many people with a disability, it is very hard to access the Bible without help. For someone with a visual disability, they have to have the Bible read to them by someone else. For someone with a hearing impairment, they have to read the written Bible, which is often very different to the Sign Language and the meaning can be lost to them.

The Bible Society in Sri Lanka is passionate about making the Bible more accessible for the thousands in Sri Lanka with a disability through Braille Bibles and the Sri Lankan Sign Language translation. They have set their theme for 2021 as “people with special need”; those who cannot easily access the written Bible.

The Sri Lankan Sign Language Translation

According to the Sri Lankan Federation of the Deaf, there are over 300,000 people in Sri Lanka who are deaf, and an estimated 9% of the population have a loss of hearing of some degree.

The written language is often very different from the Sign Language version. Another huge issue is that many cannot even access the written Bible due to illiteracy.

As with many Sign Language translations, the Sri Lankan Sign Language translation has started with the Parables of Jesus. To date they have completed the recording of 6 Parables and are currently working on a further 2. Once the Parables are completed, they hope to move onto another project called “The Life of Jesus”, documenting Jesus’s life and ministry on earth.

To make the Sign Language Bible, stories are translated to Sign Language, recorded and put onto DVDs. They also hope to make them available online.

Please pray especially for the Sign Language translation team, as two of the members have recently been ill.

Braille Bibles for those with Visual Disabilities

The Braille Bible translation here has been completed and the Bible Society is working with Blind Schools to distribute it. Each book of the Bible comes as a separately bound book costing approximately £12 to produce. This means to buy the full Bible would cost £792.

While they are working to ensure each Blind School has access to the Braille Bible, the Bible Society in Sri Lanka also provides Audio Bibles. These portable, and easy to store Bibles, are a more affordable solution which allows the Bible Society in Sri Lanka to provide more people with personal access to the Bible.

The Bible Society in Sri Lanka’s main goal is to achieve the widest and most effective distribution of the Holy Scriptures to help people interact meaningfully with the Word of God.

You could help them to reach those who struggle to understand the written Bible:

-£24 could cover the cost of producing two books of the Braille Bible.

-£50 cost of providing a class with audio Bibles. 

-£150 could help support a week of work on the Sri Lankan Sign Language translation.

-£792 could cover the cost of a full Braille Bible.

To make a donation, simply fill out the form on this page.

Please help us support the Bible Society in Sri Lanka as they reach out to those on the edges of society whose disability often leaves them feeling isolated. We ask you to pray for this project and for those with disabilities, that God would speak to them through His Word and that they would understand.

Thank you.