It is the time of the year when many look for calendars for the newly dawned year, either for personal use or as a gift. Visually impaired and low-vision people can now find a readable calendar of their own. The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon’s (EFC) ICT Training Centre offers free pocket Braille and large print calendars every year. The first Braille and large print calendar for 2019 was handed over to the Director General, EFC, Mr. Kanishka Weerasinghe by Ms. Manique Gunaratne.

“It is very important for vision impaired persons to expand their Braille-reading skills. The only method to evaluate the literacy rate of vision impaired persons is Braille.  “Literacy is so important. There are talking devices, but there is nothing quite like the written word. It is so important for blind children and adults to learn to read, just as it is important for sighted people to read. EFC Braille calendars are an absolute must for any blind adult or child on the go. They are fast, easy to use, efficient and a real necessity today.

The EFC ICT Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities removes barriers, creates solutions and expands possibilities, so that persons with disabilities can achieve their full potential.

The Braille calendars are distributed free among EFC ICT trainees and other vision impaired persons in all corners of the country.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

Manique Gunaratne handing over the first Braille calendar to Mr. Kanishka Weerasinghe.

Manique Gunaratne

Advisory Board – CENWOR Employment for Women with Disabilities Project


The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) and the Mobility International USA (MIUSA) jointly implemented the Regional WILD (Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability) Asia 2018 in Colombo in May 2018. This was a first of its kind to be initiated by MIUSA in Asia.

A US-based non-profit organization, MIUSA is committed to empower people with disabilities around the world to achieve their human rights through international exchange and international development. MIUSA’s training sessions are fashioned to prepare people with disabilities to take leadership in advocating for inclusion across a wide range of sectors, including education, employment, micro enterprise, violence prevention, access to health care, technology and policy making.

The Colombo workshop brought together 15 women participants with diverse disabilities. three local participants joined representatives from China, India and Nepal.

All participants of the Colombo workshop were required to train women with disabilities in their own community at local level. One of the local participant Ms. Chamari Sandamali from Jinasena Training & Rehabilitation Trust conducted the WILD Sri Lanka 2018 in partnership with Mobility International USA (MIUSA) and The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon for 23 women with diverse disabilities at the Help Age Sri Lanka in December 2018.

The participants exchanged their experiences, and explore strategies to become catalysts of inclusiveness and change. The main objective of WILD- Sri Lanka was to empower the participants to become agents of change, by empowering them to give leadership to those with disabilities at the grass root level.

The workshop which was also a celebration of diversity and mutual learning and sharing brought under the spotlight the expertise of the participants in areas such as problem solving, motivation, dining etiquettes, personal grooming, yoga exercises, sexual and re-productive health and professional development. The participants got the opportunity to show case their talents at the talent show.

“The EFC’s Network on Disability and its disability resource center have received global accolades as an exemplary model. The ILO Global Business Disability Network has consistently highlighted the achievements of the network. The Network serves as a link between the business community and the organizations dealing with disability issues to facilitate mainstreaming its work.

This workshop brought together women activists with disabilities from all corners of Sri Lanka who are passionate to strengthen their leadership skills and work for greater inclusion of women and girls with disabilities. Women with disabilities need to be recognized as leaders in both humanitarian and development efforts in this region and throughout the world.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Banner.

2 Awarding certificate to Chandima.

3 Awarding the certificate to Kaushalya.

4 Chammi interpreting in sign language.

5 Nirosha presenting a tocan of appreciation to Chandima.

6 Dance by deaf participants at the talent show.

7 Group photograph.

8 Problem solving session by Ruwani and Samudra.

9 Kaushalya presenting a tocan of appreciation to Ms. Yashoravi Bakmeewawa for the session on Motivation.

10 Manique and Sandamali.

11 Manique

12 Ms. Yashoravi Bakmeewawa, Assistant Director from The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon conducting the Motivation session.

13 Nirosha volunteering for the programme.

14 Gamika lighting the oil lamp.

15 Samudra lighting the oil lamp.

16 Perssonal grooming session. (make up session)

17 Ms. Navini Jayasinghe – Senior Manager – People Development, HR, Ms. Sahani Maddugoda – Assistant Manager – HR Services, HR, Ms. Rovina Vandersay – Senior Executive – People Development, HR from Nestle Lanka conducting the sessions on Dining etiquettes and personal grooming.

18 Nisha at the problem solving session.

19 Dinushi at the problem solving session.

20 Manique, Nisha, Sandamali, Subhani and Chandima at the panel of the professional development session.

21 Dr. Menaka Fernando conducting the sexual and re-productive session.

22 Participants attending the sexual and re-productive session.

23 String game.

24 Dining etiquettes session.

25 Dining etiquettes.

26 table etiquettes.

27 Table etiquettes

28 Baloon dance at the talent show.

29 Drama by Nisha at the talent show.

30 Pradeepa singing at the talent show.

31 Manique making the welcome speech.

32 Yoga session.

33 Yoga session.

34 Yoga session.

35 Group photograph at the yoga session.

36 Participants attending yoga.

37 Yoga trainer with participants.

Manique Gunaratne

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


Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon together with Women with disabilities from the EFC Training Centre supported Prof. Hiruko from Japan to conduct a research on “Higher education, vocational training and employment for women with disabilities” in December 2018.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Manique and Prof. Hiruko.

2 Samudra and Prof. Hiruko.

3 Samudra with Japanese delegate.

4 Umesha with Prof. Hiruko.

5 Umesha with Japanese delegate.

Manique Gunaratne

Vice Chair Person – South Asian Disability Forum


DAISY Lanka Foundation together with Bookshare and Enable India conducted a Stakeholder Consultation for organisations working for vision impaired persons at the University of Colombo in December 2018.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

  1.  Ms. Samudra Gamage, Ms. Manique Gunaratne and Ms. Ayasana Gunasekera of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon

Manique Gunaratne

Executive Committee Member for Advocacy and Lobbying for Rights of Persons with Disabilities – Sri Lanka Foundation for Rehabilitation of the Disabled



Bookshare introduced its services in Sri Lanka. They offer free memberships to all end users in Sri Lanka.

This way, all books produced in Sri Lanka can be made available from this single platform + more than 450000 titles available on Bookshare.

In order to achieve the above, the Bookshare team visited Sri Lanka in December 2018 and partnered with The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon. It is the first time in the history that Sri Lankan vision impaired community got the opportunity to get the Bookshare Library membership free of cost.

The Bookshare team was accompanied by a team from Enable India [www.enableindia.org]

Who is India’s leading organization working for Digital Literacy and Employment for persons

With visual Impairment.

The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon together with the #InternationalLabourOrganisationSriLanka (ILO) and Bookshare conducted a training on e-book editing for 20 participants who have a passion in creating e-books in accessible formats for vision impaired persons and people with print disabilities in December 2018 at The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon. Participants were trained on how to create e-books in English, Sinhala and Tamil languages. The participants were also sensitized on   Orientation and skill development of persons with Visual and print disabilities for accessing bookshare system, granting free membership, membership roles and procedure for bookshare and Digital literacy.

With more and more titles being uploaded in more languages, Bookshare is the world’s most popular source of accessible reading resource for more than 5,50,000 print disabled individuals.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Ayasana training participants.

2 Dr. Homiyor and Manique with the audience.

3 Dr. Homiyor and Manique.

4 Dr. Homiyor and Manique conducting the training.

5 Dr. Homiyo, manique  and asoka.

6 Manique with the participants.

7 Participantss attending the session (View from the back)

8 Front view of the participants.

9 Participants speaking.

10 Practical session.


11 Teaching e-book editing.

12 Ms. Zenath from Bookshare conducting the session.

Manique Gunaratne

Manager – Specialise Training and Disability Resource Centre of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon



Enable India is one of India’s premier NGO’s which specializes in conducting Awareness workshops and trainings for Digital Literacy for vision impaired persons. (www.enableindia.org)

Enable India is being partnered by Bookshare for conducting “Reading without Seeing” workshops across India and neighbouring countries.

The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon together with the #InternationalLabourOrganisationSriLanka (ILO), Bookshare and Enable India conducted the “Reading without Seeing” training to give vision impaired persons a unique experiential training at The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon in December 2018.

30 vision impaired participants got the opportunity to experience:

– Challenges of Reading and Writing.

– Effects of not being able to Read and Write.

– Solutions for Reading and Writing.

– Demonstration of Modern technology.

– Hands on experience of using common tools for reading and writing.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Ayasana giving the mike to participants to speak.

2 Ayasana.

3 Chamod, Wanamali and Ruwani attending the session.

4 Handing over training materials and software tools by Mr. Shankar from Enable India to Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon.

5 Dr. Homiyor from Bookshare conducting the training.

6 Manique at the Resource panel.

7 Manique together with  Dr. Homiyor and Ms. Zenath from Bookshare.

8 Manique and Dr. Homiyor.

9 Manique and Sanjaya from India.

10 Manique speaking.

11 Mr. Mosus from Enable India conducting the session.

12 Mosus and Zenath.

13 Participants speaking.

14 Front view of the participants.

15 Side view of the participants.

16 Participants with resource person from India.

17 Participants.

18 Group photograph of the resource persons.

19 Mr. Sanjaya from India conducting the session.

20 Sanjaya presenting.

21 Sanjaya conducting the session with the participants.

22 Ms. Zenath from Bookshare conducting the session.


Manique Gunaratne

Manager – Specialise Training and Disability Resource Centre of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon


The British Welfare Group celebrated Christmas with the trainees from the English Language Communication Skills training in December 2018. It is important to provide recreation facilities for persons with disabilities.  The British Welfare Group conducts English Language Communication Skills trainings for persons with disabilities at The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Trainee doing the guess game.

2 Group photograph seated.


3 Group photograph waring Christmas hats.


4 Exchanging gifts.

5 Exchanging gifts.

6 Exchanging gifts.


Manique Gunaratne

Advisory Board Member – 18+ Alliance for Care Leavers (SOS Children’s Village)



The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Network on Disability took another initiative in the disability field. EFC is planning to support persons with disabilities to expand their businesses. The common trend in the society is to grant self-employment aid which has a charity based approach. When self-employment aid is granted there is no proper mechanism to monitor the growth of the business. Also persons with disabilities have a mindset of a charity approach. But it is very important to have a right based approach.  The EFC started a course of study in Small Business Development for 15 persons with diverse disabilities (vision impaired, partially sighted, hearing impaired, speech difficulty, physical disabilities and multiple disabilities) in December 2018. The trainees will be trained on how to prepare a proper business plan and there after they will be granted low interest loans to expand their businesses. It is very important to have entrepreneurs with disabilities. In 2015 under the ILO (International Labour Organisation) LEED (Local Empowerment through Economic Development) project EFC granted interest free loans for 30 persons with diverse disabilities from the North of Sri Lanka. Small Business Development trainings will be conducted by Ms. Manique Gunaratne and Ms. Ayasana Gunasekera.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Dinithi attending training.

2 Group photograph standing.

3 Group photograph seated.

4 Trainee attending online.

5 Trainee attending online.

6 Trainee attending online.

(Honoured, Deshabandu) Ms. H.K. Manique Gunaratne


On International Human Rights Day 2018 the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) organised an event to mark the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on the theme “The world made anew – the UDHR in our lives; child and youth reflections” at the BMICH in December 2018.

This year’s event focused on youth and children who shared what the UDHR means to them, while a cultural programme will emphasise the importance of UDHR to diverse groups in society. Special focus was made to include persons with disabilities in the agenda.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1   Ms. Manique Gunaratne, Ms. Ayasana Gunasekera, Ms. Chamari     Sandamali and Ms. Samudra Gamage from The Employers’       Federation of Ceylon ICT Training & Disability Resource Centre

Manique Gunaratne

FaceTime: 0094779571918



World University Service of Canada (WUSC) Sri Lanka conducted a study on the labour market policies related to the Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) sector in Sri Lanka. WUSC disseminated the findings of this paper in commemoration with 16 Days Activism and #HearMeToo events this year. WUSC made this opportunity to join hands with other sister agencies to have a collective voice, reflect on different perspectives, and discuss the extent of the problem of women labour force participation in Sri Lankan context. WUSC focused a broader, evidence-based, discussion about “women in work” and to highlight key areas where policy and action are needed. The programme held at Lakshman Kadirgama Institute in December 2018 brought together women leaders in the labour force in different sectors in the society.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Manique, Ayasana and Sagarika.

2 Ms. Manique Gunaratne and Ms. Ayasana Gunasekera from The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon.

3 Manique speaking.


Manique Gunaratne

WhatsApp: 0094779571918