The Lion Sleeps Tonight by African Deaf Children's Choir: Deaf/Hearing Kids Working Together





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Uploaded on Jan 10, 2012

(No copyright infringement intended. This video is for the purpose of educating and raising awareness about Deaf culture and music) This is a video of a choir I directed with both hearing and non-hearing students at the Humble Hearts School for the Deaf in Nairobi, Kenya. Learn more about the school here:


What I found amazing was how these kids, both non-Hearing and Hearing, were able to move, sign and sing perfectly in-sync. I am hoping this video inspires people to take on similar endeavors, encouraging Hearing and Deaf children to work together.

In this video, they are performing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" from the movie "The Lion King". The girls in the back sing, while the kids in the front sign the song, in Kenyan Sign Language, not ASL. So a lot of the signs are different from what you would normally see here in Canada and the US, as you will notice with words such as "Lion" and "Tonight".

In general these kids face hardships you and I do not have to deal with, as they come from very impoverished backgrounds. In Kenya, again due to poverty there is generally a lack of qualified teachers for the Deaf as well as accessibility for the Deaf. Many parents in Kenya who have children that are deaf are not able to have their children identified at birth and when they later learn about the deafness, there are often very few resources they have access to to ensure their child's success. For example, when I was working at an orphanage, there was one little child who was Deaf who had absolutely no education in sign language and could not communicate with anybody. As well, at the school for the Deaf, I met one student who was 22 but in grade 2 because he had never been able to go to school, was living on the streets and had not started learning to sign until only a couple years ago. On a positive note, the Deaf community in Kenya is gradually flourishing and in time, hopefully there will be more initiatives for their inclusion in society.

Many schools for the Deaf in Kenya, including these students' school, lack the basic resources, materials, qualified teachers for the Deaf (there is a great lack and need for qualified teachers for the Deaf in Kenya), and interpreters that schools for the deaf here in Canada and the U.S are provided with. Schools for the Deaf in Kenya in general are in general ill-equipped but nevertheless are important for Deaf child population.

I have uploaded this video to raise awareness about Deaf culture, especially when it comes to music, and to show people that Deafness is really not a disability. It is more a way of living, Deafhood, like womanhood or manhood. Music is music, there is no need to hear to be able to appreciate that art form.

So yeah, become involved with the Deaf community and culture, learn sign language (there are plenty of college and community course out there, just do your research) and make some friends with the Deaf. There is definitely a need in society for more people who interact with the Deaf especially sign language interpreters and teachers for the Deaf.

Once you immerse yourself in Deaf culture it is hard to go back.

NOTE: By NO means is this video a way of trying to get Deaf people to do music because it is a part of the Hearing world and it is inherently better than not having music. I love and respect Deaf culture, and what this video is demonstrating is a potential cultural exchange that can take place between the Hearing and Deaf people. Me being relatively new to sign language, I understand that the direct translation of ASL to English is very crude. However, as I progress in my ASL, I want to make videos that incorporate a poetic ASL translation of the English.

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