GENDER AND DISABILITY IN A COVID-19 CONTEXT

GENDER AND DISABILITY IN A COVID-19 CONTEXT
The Australian Government seeks equity and broad participation by all groups in society and
is an important priority in Australia’s foreign aid programs. This includes women, people
living with a disability and people from traditionally marginalised groups.
Australia Awards promotes the inclusion and successful participation of people living with a
disability as well as aims for equitable participation by both women and men.
The Australia Awards Sri Lanka and Maldives program organised an online panel discussion
revolving around the topic of Gender Equality and Social Inclusion which consisted of
Australia Awards Alumni and resource persons from both Sri Lanka and Maldives.
The purpose of the panel discussion was to:
 identifying key issues related to Gender and Disability in Sri Lanka and Maldives
especially during a pandemic.
 discussion on potential ways to address these key issues
 Sharing of best practices and lessons learned across both countries
Way forward in a post-Covid 19 context
The resource persons were:
 Hawwa Leesha, Representative from WiLN – Maldives (alumna)
 Sarah Soysa, Representative from WiLN – Sri Lanka (alumna)
 Ahmed Anwer, Chairperson – Hope for Women, Maldives
 Manique Gunaratne – Manager – Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre
The Employers' Federation of Ceylon, Sri Lanka
Manique Gunaratne
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMBhDQ516xwVr86zKLM1HUw

SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH IN EMERGENCIES

SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH IN
EMERGENCIES
The Family Planning Association of Sri Lanka is implementing the project on Sexual and
Reproductive Health in Emergencies which was designed to address implementation gaps of
the Minimum Initiative Service Package (MISP) for SRH at the during emergencies.
SPRINT project is at the forefront of addressing these needs and gaps and the activities
carried out by IPPF member associations, Ministries of Health, international and local relief
agencies as well as UN agencies.
As an output of targeted focus on vulnerable groups Family Planning Association is
integrating with organisations working for persons with disabilities and initiate discussions
with the participation of them.
Watch the video on:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/16g3uKSujm6764o9DRmSLf8KY94OulTZI/view?usp=sharin
g
Manique Gunaratne
Committee Member – SPRINT Committee of Family Planning Association

GAAD 2020 WEBINAR: "WHEN RHETORIC MEETS REALITY: DIGITAL ACCESSIBILITY, PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES, AND COVID-19"

GAAD 2020 WEBINAR: "WHEN RHETORIC MEETS
REALITY: DIGITAL ACCESSIBILITY, PERSONS WITH
DISABILITIES, AND COVID-19"

The Internet Society Special Interest Group hosted a webinar to celebrate the Global
Accessibility awareness Day on “When rhetoric meets reality: Digital Accessibility,
Persons With Disabilities and COVID-19” in May 2020.
This webinar brought together digital accessibility experts and people with disabilities to
discuss the digital accessibility outlook beyond COVID-19. The webinar aimed to share and
offer a variety of ideas from different disabilities and different parts of the world.
The speakers were:
Muhammad Shabbir Awan, President, ISOC Accessibility SIG
Keynote: How governments can integrate eaccessibility into their web presences
David Berman, David Berman communications, Canada
Naveed Haq, Internet Society, Pakistan
Manique Gunaratne, Manager, Specialized Training and Disability Resource Centre, The
Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Sri Lanka
Gunela Astbrink, Vice President Accessibility SIG, Australia
Fernando Botelho, F123 initiative, Brazil
Judy Okite, founder, Association for Accessibility and Equality(AAFE), Kenya
Peter Crosbie, advocate for the autistic community, France
Lidia Best, Vice President, European Federation of Hard of Hearing, UK
Manique Gunaratne
WhatsApp: 0094779571918

“IMAGINATION AND CREATIVITY CAN CHANGE THE WORLD”

“IMAGINATION AND CREATIVITY CAN CHANGE THE

WORLD”

The famous children’s book writer, Ms. Sybil Weththasinghe wrote the “Wonder Cristal”,
“Puduma Paliguwa” which was a Guinness World record with the most number of endings
written by children themselves. Children with disabilities were also included in this process.
Celebration of the Guinness World Record was held at the “Nelum Pokuna” Theatre in
March 2020 with the participation of 1200 children.
“Imagination and Creativity can change the World” was published and gifted by Munchee to
all the children for the nation, On the occasion of 2019 word children’s day.
The “Wonder Cristal” or the “Puduma Palinguwa” children’s book written by Sybil
Weththasinghe and sponsored by Ceylon Biscuits PLC was converted into Braille, large print,
audio and accessible e-copies in all three languages by the EFC Specialised Training &
Disability Resource Centre.
Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:
1 Children announcing.
2 Children in the audience.
3 Sybil Weththasinghe on the screen.
4 Sybil Weththasinghe speaking.
5 Guinness World Record.
6 Manique in the audience.
7 Little imaginators on the screen.
8 Showers of blessings when receiving the award.
9 Wonder Cristle cover page.
Manique Gunaratne
Blog: http://efcnetworkondisability.employers.lk/

A GROUP OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETES A COURSE OF STUDY IN MICROSOFT WORD

A GROUP OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETES A COURSE OF STUDY IN
MICROSOFT WORD
A group of 8 persons with diverse disabilities (vision impaired, partially sighted and physical
disability) successfully completed a course of study in Microsoft Word at The Employers’
Federation of Ceylon, Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre in February 2020.
Since its inception in 1999, the Network on Disability of the Employers’ Federation of
Ceylon (EFC) has taken strides, notably in the fields of ICT training, language and skills
training and economic empowerment. The ICT Training Centre of the EFC which was
launched in 2009 with the support of the International Labour Organization (ILO) is the
nucleus of the Network on Disability. Embracing the vision of ‘productive employment
through social harmony’, its objective is to develop the employability skills of persons with
diverse disabilities in the country.
Under the guidance of Ms. Manique Gunaratne, it has benefited school leavers, job seekers,
undergraduates and those employed from all corners of the Island.
The Training Centre fully equipped with devices specially designed for persons with
disabilities and other software, also collaborates with Curtin University of Technology in
Australia and SLIIT (Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology) Malabe.
The Training Centre conducts 23 courses for persons with disabilities.
Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:
Group photograph.
Manique Gunaratne
FaceBook – Manique Gunaratne

NATIONAL YOUTH DIALOGUE ON LEADERSHIP INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP INCLUDES PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

NATIONAL YOUTH DIALOGUE ON LEADERSHIP
INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP INCLUDES
PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
The UNDP organized the “National Youth Dialogue on Leadership Innovation and
Entrepreneurship” to develop entrepreneurship skills of youth in Sri Lanka in February 2020.
The programme was held at the BMICH. EFC trainees with diverse disabilities were also
included in the programme. UNDP together with the EFC Specialised Training & Disability
Resource Centre implemented the “Technopreneurship for Social Change” programme in
2019 to develop entrepreneurship Skills of persons with disabilities.
Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:
1 Trainees with sign language interpreter.
2 Trainees.
3 Trainees with UN Vollunteers.
4 Trainees.
5 Trainees.
Manique Gunaratne
Skype – manique.g

DEVELOPING ENTREPRENEURSHIP SKILLS FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

DEVELOPING ENTREPRENEURSHIP SKILLS FOR
PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Disabilities vary widely in type, severity, stability, duration and time of onset. These
characteristics influence individual capacities and willingness to become entrepreneurs and to
sustain such a status. Self-employment is appropriate for many in this population because it
can provide more flexibility than paid employment in terms of workload, work schedule and
work location, which can allow for better management of disability and lifestyle. Efforts are
needed to increase awareness about the desirability and feasibility of entrepreneurship by
people experiencing disabilities, both among disabled and non-disabled populations. There is
some evidence that targeted entrepreneurship training and start-up support programmes can
be effective for disabled people, but they are expensive to deliver and the size of the target
group will not always justify separate provision. There is strong potential to adapt existing
training and start-up programmes to the needs of persons with disability. Business advisors
should be ready to recommend self-employment as a career option to the people with
disability, longer support should be available if necessary, adapted formats (such as sign
language and Braille) should be used, and language should be adapted to the realities of the
clients. Partnerships between business support organisations and specialist disabled support
organisations can also help.
The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre
implements several programmes to develop Entrepreneurship Skills of people with
disabilities. The Training Centre started a new course of study in Cookery for Entrepreneurs
with disabilities in February 2020. The trainings are conducted by Ms. Mahila
Wickramasekera . Women with diverse disabilities (multiple disability and learning
disability) will be trained in Cookery to start up their own businesses.
Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:
1 Training session.
2 Conducting the training.
3 Participants.
Manique Gunaratne
Web: www.employers.lk

PETRELEX HEARING AID MOBILE APP

PETRELEX HEARING AID MOBILE APP

Dialog Axiata PLC together with The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Specialised Training
& Disability Resource Centre supported hard of hearing persons to hear well through a
mobile app in February 2020. EFC hard of hearing trainees were thrilled with joy when they
could hear well through this mobile app instead of the hearing aid. This mobile app will
support them to to enhance their employability skills and improve their educational level.

Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:
1 Hearing impaired trainees using the app.
2 Tharusha explaining the app.
Manique Gunaratne
E-mail – maniqueg@empfed.lk manique.g@gmail.com

AUSTRALIAN AWARDS SCHOLARSHIPS FOR GRADUATES WITH DISABILITIES

AUSTRALIAN AWARDS SCHOLARSHIPS FOR
GRADUATES WITH DISABILITIES
Do you want to be a leader in your field and make a difference in Sri Lanka? Australia
Awards Scholarships are your opportunity to gain a world class education and become an
emerging leader for development with strong links to Australia. EFC Specialised Training &
Disability Resource Centre opened the doors to graduates with disabilities to develop their
career with a Master’s degree in Australia. The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon together
with the Australia Awards team conducted a training on how to apply for the scholarship in
February 2020. An Australia Awards Scholarship provides with the opportunity to gain an
internationally recognised qualification from an Australian university. Career of persons with
disabilities will benefit from new knowledge, leadership skills and the links they create both
in Australia and through the global alumni network. On their return home they can make a
vital contribution to the economic and social development of Sri Lanka. This will support to
create an environment with dignity and justice for all persons with disabilities.
Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:
1 Participants.
2 Participants.
3 Conducting the session.
Manique Gunaratne
Fax – 0094112867946