LIRNEasia joined Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon to the research advisory board for the disability research as part of their 2019-2021 research cycle, through which they hope to catalyze the innovation ecosystems that will make applications based on smartphones and other ICTs widely available to contribute to independent living by persons with disabilities in Sri Lanka.

As part of this project, they seek to understand in-depth how disabled people live their lives, the short and long-term challenges they face, and their understandings of “independence.”

They aim to do this by:

  1. Documenting challenges faced by persons with disabilities through carefully designed mini-ethnographies, focused group discussions and in-depth interviews;
  2. Envisioning along with the beneficiaries, the solutions and conditions that would enable them to live more independent lives;
  3. Categorizing the identified problems and possible solutions into ICT-based solutions/assistive technologies and analog complements;
  4. Bringing together designers, software developers and beneficiaries to co-create ICT-enabled solutions/assistive technologies

LIRNEASIA seek the input of the research advisory board on the first three activities described above, specifically to provide input on the research instruments, provide feedback on research findings, envision solutions to key issues identified through the research and provide input on policy briefs.


Manique Gunaratne

Vice President – Rehab Lanka Sports Club for Persons with Disabilities


Centre for Women Research (CENWOR) organized a workshop on “Situational Analysis to understand the context of people with disabilities in Sri Lanka” in May 2019. Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Fedeeration of Ceylon conducted the session on “Violence against persons with disabilities”, on Assessing the Current Situation of Persons with Disability in Sri Lanka as a part of a project CENWOR has initiated in three districts in the country. CENWOR is at the initial stage of identifying policy makers, experts and project implementers who will be the essential stakeholders of this project.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Manique conducting the session.

2 Title session on screen.

3 Resource persons panel.


Manique Gunaratne

Executive Committee Member – Disability Organisations’ Joint Front


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 during emergencies. SPRINT project is at the forefront of addressing these needs and gaps and the activities carried out by IPPF member associations, Ministry of Disaster Management and Disaster Relief Services Centre, Ministry of Health, international and local relief agencies as well as UN agencies. Especially, the SPRINT is closely engaged with Family Health Bureau and Disaster Management Centre.

By year 2019, the project has more activities focused on inclusion of persons with disability. Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon was nominated as a member with a disability for SPRINT steering committee in May 2019.


Manique Gunaratne

CISCO International Trainer for I T E (Information Technology Essentials) and CCNA (Cisco Computer Network Associates)



The International Labour Organization celebrates 100 years in April 2019. The International Labour Office Sri Lanka joined the world celebrations at Nelum Pokuna. The Chief Guest was His Excellency the President Mr. Maithripala Sirisena. The ILO included persons with disabilities in their 100 year celebrations.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Kandiyan dancers.

2 Logos on screen.

3 EFC staff.

4 Issuing the stamp and the first day cover.

5 Visual dance.

Manique Gunaratne

Supported Employment Officer – Northern Ireland Union of Supported Employment


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 more than200 persons with diverse disabilities to date including 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 programs are also recognized by the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC) and within the EFC membership which consists of 700 companies.

The ICT Training Centre receiving the CISCO Academy status in 2014 is the latest feather in its cap. This is a milestone of the ICT Training Centre as it is the only training centre in the country which trains people with diverse disabilities in CISCO courses. CISCO is a globally recognized IT qualification.

The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon ICT Training Centre with the support of the #InternationalLabourOrganisationSri LankaOffice started a course of study in Windows Operations for 15 persons with diverse disabilities (vision impaired, partially sighted, hearing impaired, physical disabilities and slow learners) in March 2019. Up to date 90 persons with disabilities have registered to follow this course of study in Windows Operations.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Trainee learning online.



2 Group of persons with disabilities learning.

3 Group photograph.

4 Hearing impaired persons learning through sign language.

Manique Gunaratne

Skype – manique.g


The International Labour Organisation, Global Business Disability Network news letter published an article on The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Training & Disability Resource Centre in May 2019. Please read the article on:


Reading without seeing


Manique Gunaratne

Advisory Board – CENWOR Employment for Women with Disabilities Project


We are all persons with disabilities at some time in our lives. A child, a person with a broken leg, a parent with a pram, pregnant mother, an elderly person, etc. are all disabled in one way or another. Those who remain healthy and able-bodied all their lives are few. As far as the built-up environment is concerned, it is important that it should be barrier-free

And adapted to fulfill the needs of all people equally. As a matter of fact, the needs of the persons with disabilities coincide with the needs of the majority, and all

People are at ease with them. As such, planning for the majority implies planning for people with varying abilities and disabilities.

The technical aim of an access audit is to provide a barrier-free

Environment for the independence, convenience and safety of all people with disabilities and persons with not yet with a disability.

Disability accessibility has been a huge challenge for people with disabilities. This includes customers as well as employees. Therefore, it is important Employers to sensitize their staff on the importance of accessibility to treat their customers with dignity and justice.

The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon conducts access audits in companies to give recommendations for the employers. The Access Audit team of EFC conducted an access audit at the British Council Kandy in April 2019 to make it a disable friendly environment for all persons with disabilities.


Picture description for vision impaired persons:

The Access Audit team, Ms. Manique Gunaratne, Mr. Santhush Peiris, Ms. Ayasana Gunasekera and Mr. Chamod Nayanananda.


Manique Gunaratne

Member of the Expert Body of the Sub Committee on Persons with Disabilities – Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka


The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, ICT Training & Disability Resource Centre conducts a training in “Small Business Development” for persons with disabilities to  training them on how to prepare a proper business plan. The main idea behind this programme is to develop entrepreneurs with disabilities. The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon together with its member companies created the opportunity to market their products at several “Avurudu Pola’s” in March and April 2019 to celegrate the Sinhala New Year. Persons with disabilities marketed their products at Avurudu Pola at Green Path, Colombo 7, at staff Avurudu Pola at London Stock Exchange and at the Avurudu Pola at Diesel & Motor Engineering PLC.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Marketting products made by persons with disabilities.

2 Group selling products.

3 Group in action.


Manique Gunaratne

Vice Chair Person – South Asian Disability Forum


The Employers’ Network on Disability was initiated to provide employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. A member company of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon recruited an EFC trainee with a disability into their work force.

Picture description for vision impaired persons:

EFC trainee.

Manique Gunaratne

Vice President – Sri Lanka Foundation for Rehabilitation of the Disabled