The Sabah Society for the Deaf was formed under the auspices of the Rotary Club of Kota Kinabalu. It was registered on 21st January 1975 as a non profit organization with the aim to promote education, employment and general welfare of deaf persons and prevent deafness in Sabah. The Society is managed by a group of volunteers who sit in the council.
Although the organization was founded in the mid 1970's, it was not until later in the 1980's that the organization started running actively with the formation of the new committee in 1985 and the set up of SSD's Education Centre in 1987.
The SSD Education Centre started as a preschool class was formed in August 1987 with only five profoundly deaf children at the St.John's Ambulance building at Sembulan. The school later shifted at Likas Expo complex before moving to its present premise at Jalan Khidmat, Bukit Padang, Kota Kinabalu, in 1993.
Back in 1987, SSD realized the importance of early pre-school education for the Deaf after seeing the challenges faced by the teachers in the Government Deaf primary school trying to teach the Deaf students who hardly knew proper sign language. There was thus, a need to pre-school education.
As such, SSD took the initiative to set up an Education Centre with the primary focus on pre-school education to better prepare and equip the Deaf for the entrance to the primary school with the aim to provide:
in 1989, a second pre-school was set up under the Sabah Society for the Deaf Sandakan branch. A teacher recruited was sent to the Kota Kinabalu HQ for training. The first class began with the enrolment of one child which later increased to a number of eight, located at a rented shop lot in mile 5, Taman Tsun Ngen before moving to its present Lot Labuk road in 1989.
Following Kota Kinabalu's school's outreach Program introduced in 1995, a group of deaf children were gathered with the help of a parent in Keningau resulted in the establishment of the Keningau branch school under the KK kindergarten in January 1997. A Keningau based teacher was recruited and trained at the KK school. The first class started with a number of 6 children located at a rented terrace unit house No.B Jalan Tenom, Keningau.
The fourth kindergarten of the society was established in Kudat in mid 2002 about 1km from Kudat town centre. The last kindergarten was set up by the society in 2006 upon forming of a branch in Lahad Datu at Jalan Silam, Lahad Datu.
At the first gathering of deaf persons, the first request they made of the Society was for employment opportunities.
The Society took heed and subsequently members started to find jobs for the unemployed, one after another. Many were found employment at Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and almost all of them had proved to be good employees.
At the same time the tailoring skills of several girls became known and the Society boldly took the risk of opening a dress making shop for five deaf girls at the Karamunsing Complex. Six months later, two deaf sisters who were working at the shop offered to take over the shop and run it on their own.
On 2nd May 1998, Rotary Club of Tanjung Aru handed over a full set of bakery equipment. Some deaf are now being trained to bake cakes, buns and bread with the bakery equipment.