The 3rd. Asia Pacific Feminist Forum was organized by Asia Pacific Women Law & Development (APWLD) at Empress Hotel in Chiang Mai, Thailand in September 2017. Ms. Manique Gunaratne from The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre who is also a Committee Member of the Asia Pacific Women with Disabilities United (APWWDU) together Ms. Sonali De Silva from The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon attended the APFF. Everyone was able to join other women, development and human rights organizations and advocates from different parts of the region in strengthening movements for development justice. This participatory event brought more than 300 activists, Women Human Rights Defenders, Women with disabilities, academics, lawyers and global allies, facilitating the sharing of tools and resources, providing space for advocacy, strengthening capacities and inviting us to collectively strategies to build more power.

The Asia Pacific Women with Disabilities United (APWWDU) organized a side event to:

  • Reflect on achievements and challenges of women with disabilities in claiming rights and development justice.
  • Articulate what feminist development justice is from the perspective of women with disabilities (articulate grounding and principles)?
  • Appreciate key international human rights standards and processes and how this can continue to be relevant to the needs and realities of women /persons with disabilities.
  • Strengthen knowledge and capacities of women with disabilities in advocating for feminist development justice at the national, regional and global levels.

Women with disabilities are mindful of the need for a stronger articulation on gender and feminism in the disability movements and awareness and sensitivity on disability within women’s movements. This reflection comes from a careful appreciation of what they have achieved in terms of carving out spaces for their meaningful participation in setting standards of human rights from the perspective of feminism and disability and an awareness of the challenges they continue to face. Guided by what they bring into the feminist and disability movements was also the same grounding they had in carving out space for their participation in setting, implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. As they engaged in these spaces they are reflective of:

  • Current analysis of the situation and realities of WWDs in the region,
  • Existing policies and mechanisms that support the rights of and development goals women with disabilities at the national level;
  • Basic grounding development justice (given commitments in 2015), CEDAW, CRPD and the SDGs as standards and principles that guide their engagement
  • Need for reflection on what WWDs have gained in engaging in the SDG process and how to strengthening movements to push for this.

The APFF has been witness to the on-going reflection of women with disabilities as they commit and engage in crafting, implementing and monitoring the SDGs given their analysis of gender and disability based discrimination; and what it means to be grounded in feminist development justice.

In this year’s APFF WWDs got the opportunity to engage each other and the wider movement at the APFF of what it means for WWDs to be part of the growing movement on feminist development justice.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Conference day 1.

2 Day 1 group of APWWDU members.

3 Day 1 Manique and Sonali.

4 Day Manique and Sonali.

5 Day 1 Manique near the stage.

6 Day 1 with women with disabilities.

7 Day 2 APWWDU members.

8 Day 2 Manique speaking.

9 Day 2 Manique near the banner.

10 Day 2 Manique.

11 Day 2 participants.

12 Day 3 all participants.

13 Day 3 APWWDU group.

14 Day 3 group photo 2.

15 Day 3 group photo.

16 Day 3 Manique near stage.


17 Opening dinner.


Manique Gunaratne

Executive Committee Member – Disability Organisations’ Joint Front


In March 2012 Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon,   did a presentation on “How to include women with disabilities to the mainstream of development” at a workshop organized by the Disability Organizations’ Joint front and Ministry of Women Affairs at the Sri Lanka Television and training Institute. The Chief guest was the Minster of Women Affairs.


Manique Gunaratne

Vice Chair Person – South Asian Disability Forum


In April 2012 Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon went to Istanbul, Turkey to attend the Association for Women’s Rights in Development’s (“AWID”) International Forum meeting (the “AWID Forum. This meeting was hosted on behalf of AWID by Dekon Congress & Tourism at the Halic Congress Center.

AWID is an international membership organization with thousands of individual and institutional members in over 100 countries working towards gender equality worldwide. The AWID Forum is a triennial conference that draws women’s rights activists and development practitioners from over 120 countries. The conference is one the largest periodic events on women’s rights in the world outside the UN, and hosts over 2,000 participants.

Dekon Congress & Tourism provided services in destination management and did the logistical coordination of the AWID Forum. At the Forum, Ms. Manique Gunaratne was invited to speak at a panel organised by CREA, India.

CREA is a women’s rights organisation based in New Delhi, India. Ms. Manique Gunaratne did a presentation on “Disability sexuality and rights of women with disabilities”. There were 2500 participants from 140 countries.


Manique Gunaratne

National Campaigner for Rights of Women with Disabilities – Raising Our Voices for Us


Home Visits by vision impaired therapists for Therapy which covers various acute problems such as Headaches, Joint Pains, Fatigue, sleeplessness, Stiffness, Back pains etc.



Helps with Fatigue and Overall Weaknesses.

Improves Blood Circulation.

Reduces Stress, Anxiety and Depression.

Relief to Arthritis Sufferers.

Help with Stiff Neck, Shoulders and Backaches (Including Sciatica).

Helps with Coughs, Colds, Sinus and Respiratory Issues.

Helps to Maintain a Healthy Body.


These vision impaired therapists have also developed their ICT skills at The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, ICT Training & Disability Resource Centre.

For all your therapy requirements please contact:

Mr. Sandun Amila on 0779224192   0716351487

Mr. Priyantha Kosala on 0712696290

Mr. Pradeep Perera on 0716036359

Mr. Anusha Dissanayake on 0702517532

Mr. Wijaya Kumar on 0778680559

Mr. Aruna Mahesh Premachandra on 0779541435   0711061975


Manique Gunaratne

Founder Members Team – South Asian Women with Disabilities Network


The following articles were published in the following news papers and books:

“Ceylon Today” news paper article titled “Recognizing the differently abled” – February 2012

“Island” news paper article titled “Persons with disabilities the largest minority” – March 2012

“Dinamina” Sinhala news paper article titled “Ethics when dealing with persons with disabilities” – March 2012

“Divayina” Sinhala news paper article titled “Persons with disabilities should be included in the mainstream of development” – March 2012

“Free and Equal” Book published by Crea, India – April 2012

“Crea Publication” (India) article titled “Connecting contours sexuality, economic power and development” April 2012


Manique Gunaratne

Council Member – Cisco Networking Academy Council



In August 2012 The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon started the second phase of the I.C.T. training in Vavuniya (North of Sri Lanka, in war affected areas). 8 visually impaired persons were trained in Information & Communication skills for 6 months with the support of the International Labour Organisation. One of the trainees who have under gone training at the Rajagiriya training centre is the Instructor at the Vavuniya training centre. Ms. Manique Gunaratne conducts online training and visit the centre periodically for monitoring.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

Group photograph

Manique Gunaratne

Member – Asia Pacific Women with Disability United




Internews organised “Women, tech and change” the 3rd social media meet-up at Hotel Janaki in August 2017.

‘SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS MEET-UOur panel represented diverse experiences of women using technology to educate and empower our society in times of reform and change, as well as unlocking opportunities for women through technology’.

Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre spoke on “work as a person with a disability, using ICT to empower/educate those with and without disabilities, as well as advocating for the use of IT among people with disabilities and training them in Information & Communication Technology, focusing on work especially with women with disabilities, in training them in IT, opportunities and challenges.

Other speakers spoke on:

Savindri – spoke on experiences as an entrepreneur, using tech as a platform for new business, and also the challenges within the spheres of tech and within the sphere of the ‘corporate’ as a woman, with both other women and men – the lack of critical discourse on gender among business community.
Tehani – spoke about SAWF’s work with grassroots women’s orgs and activists in the region and use examples of how women are using tech to educate / mobilize at the grassroots level across South Asia.
Paba – spoke on online violence against women, weak policy/no policy to address this, online safety / security as a unique issue for women and girls; how these become deterrents to women’s use of tech / social Medias’ overall touching on women’s digital rights.
Iromi – spoke on experience using tech as a researcher and activist – to gather and analyse data as well as disseminate information in the interest of public service, via social media etc. by using examples of work on constitutional reform and urban development.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Manique at the head table.

2 Manique presenting.

3 Pannalists

Manique Gunaratne

Sub Committee Member of Policy Development Unit of Prime Minister’s Office on Vocational, Technical Training and Employment Forcusing on Persons with Disabilities



Following news papers published articles on disability.

“Daily News” news paper article titled “We need to employ disabled persons for their skills and competencies” – June 2012

“Sunday Observer” news paper article titled “E.F.C. to train visually impaired” – June 2012

“Island” news paper article titled “E.F.C. returns to Vavuniya to train more visually impaired” – July 2012

“Sunday Divayina” Sinhala news paper article titled “Neth nathimuth lokaya dakinnemi” (Seeing the world without eyes) – August 2012

“Atha Hitha” Sinhala news letter published by the Disability Organizations’ Joint Front article titled “Participation of Blind youth and women in the Asian region” Written by Ms. Manique Gunaratne – August 2012


Manique Gunaratne

Resource Person – Beyond the Reach Project of Internet Society Sri Lanka Chapter