Traveling in rural Africa can be dangerous.  A 12-passenger flight from Kenya crashed in Rwanda in 1987, and with it Andrew Foster’s work was cut short. His legacy, however, cannot be underestimated: from his schools, thousands of deaf children have received education they could never have achieved otherwise.

Those children, and the young deaf adults Foster mentored, have become leaders in their home countries. Students from the schools he founded earn doctorates at Gallaudet and elsewhere, serve in various capacities in higher education, follow in his footsteps as missionaries, and can be found working around the world.

Just as the legacy of Clerc and Gallaudet continues in the United States 200 years later, Andrew J. Foster’s legacy will continue in Africa far into the future.

Leaders for the Future

Always concerned for the future, Andrew Foster mentored the most promising of his students to take over his role. Seth Tetteh-Ocloo, ’64, G-’65, became a national leader in Ghana, and Gabriel Adepoju ’69, G-’71, PhD ’91, was a national leader in Nigeria.

Three Black Deaf men conversing with one another standing in front of a white building.
Seth Tetteh-Ocloo, Andrew Foster, and Gabriel Adepoju, n.d.
Courtesy of the Andrew Foster Family Collection

The Ability to Succeed

Andrew Foster’s gift to the deaf people of Africa was creating the opportunity for change through education. From that, deaf Africans are developing their own churches, colleges, and conferences.  Literacy and education are the keys to Africa’s future.

Three students were attentive in classroom - looking ahead.
Congo Bible Conference workshop, Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2010
Courtesy of the Andrew Foster Family Collection