Deaf Americans see Laurent Clerc and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet as the founders of deaf education in the U.S., and many deaf Africans look to Andrew Foster in the same way. Before his arrival in Africa in 1957, the continent’s only schools for deaf children were in the politically troubled north and south. In 30 years, Foster established 32 mission schools in countries across central Africa.

Having raised funds in Europe, Foster established his first school in Ghana.  There and elsewhere, his work was met with skepticism from authorities who questioned whether deaf children could be educated.  Undeterred, Foster persisted in his work the rest of his life, in Africa as well as South America and the Caribbean.

Teaching All Ages

Andrew Foster’s work was primarily targeted to educating deaf children, but he also preached the gospel to adults.  One of his very first projects was a Sunday School he established in Accra, Ghana shortly after arriving from Europe.

  Foster with children in front of a school.Foster with adult students, 1957
Courtesy of the Andrew Foster Family Collection

Crossing Borders

As an American, Foster could have concentrated his work in English-speaking countries. But his vision included all of Africa, and he opened schools in several French-speaking nations as well. Working directly with students, he taught Bible classes at many schools.

Foster teaching in class with smaller chalkboard on an easel.Foster teaching in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1985
Courtesy of the Andrew Foster Family Collection