WFD is the international non-governmental organisation representing Deaf people worldwide. A non-profit organisation, WFD works for human rights and equal opportunity for Deaf people everywhere. WFD promotes the right of Deaf people to use sign language to access education, information and all other spheres of life. In this way will Deaf people achieve equality and human rights.

The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) was established in Rome, Italy, in 1951, and is now one of the oldest organisations of people with disabilities.
Being the peak international non-governmental organisation for Deaf people around the world, WFD represents approximately 70 million people. Membership comprises national organisations of Deaf people in 120 countries; and associate, international and individual members. WFD has 7 Regional Secretariats and 1 Co-operating Partner in various regions throughout the world. WFD priorities are:

  • The human rights of Deaf people and the abolishment of discrimination against Deaf communities and sign languages.
  • Deaf education.
  • Strengthening associations of Deaf people, and assisting in the establishment of associations where none currently exist.
  • Strengthening regional work and cooperation.
The overall priority is given to Deaf people in the developing world. About 80% of Deaf people live in developing countries, where the authorities are rarely familiar with their needs and where very few Deaf children have access to education. Only about 20% of the world's Deaf population receive any education at all, and only 1% receive this education in sign language even though the great majority of Deaf people worldwide use sign language in their daily lives. WFD has consultative status in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Labour Office (ILO); and is represented on the Panel of Experts to the Special Rapporteur on the UN Standard Rules for the Equalization of Opportunites for Persons with Disabilities.