All posts by Manique

“ZONTA WOMAN OF ACHIEVEMENT 2014 AWARD”

The Zonta woman of achievement awards ceremony is the flagship event of Colombo held every biennium since 1985. Zonta Club is committed to recognize and reward women who have achieved outstanding success in their respective fields and contributed towards national development. Zonta Club informed that they received nominations from across a wide range of disciplines and all regions of Sri Lanka. An independent panel of eminent judges selected the winners. The Zonta woman achiever of 2014 awards ceremony was held at Hotel Galadari. Attorney General, Mr. Palitha Fernando was the Chief Guest at this ceremony. In May 2014 Ms. Manique Gunaratne received the “Zonta Woman of Achievement 2014 award” in the field of disability.

zonta awards 2014

 

E.F.C. I.C.T. TRAINEE GAYAN KOSALA RELATES HIS SUCCESS STORY

 

 

I am Gayan Kosala living in Kirillawala, Kadawatha, I need to share thirty years of my life experiences as a blind person with all the people who are blind and not blind, because I believe that they will help you to make your lives a success.

I was born in 1985 as a second child to an ordinary family of four children. I entered to Kerawalapitiya Vidyaloka Maha Vidyalaya for my School education. I did my studies well as an ordinary child there. But I was lucky only for few years. Destiny crossed my life unexpectedly when I was getting ready for G.C.E O/L examination. My eye sight failed little by little. I had to face lot of difficulties as I couldn’t see things at a distance. I missed my studies . Nobody could understand my condition and I was neglected by others in the classroom. I did not want to join a special school because I had no any understanding about blindness and I thought it is a matter of shame. Due to this mental failure, I couldn’t get through the O/L examination successfully.

Then my only expectation was to gain my lost eye sight. Therefore, I met the famous local and foreign doctors around the country. But it was not a success. Finally, I met Dr. Amarathunga and he was able to make my mind strong enough to face my realistic condition. He directed me to Council for the Blind as he is having a vast knowledge about the blind.

There I understood really what life is. I got to know many people like me and the things that they can do. I strongly determined to win my life. I got the opportunity to follow the courses such as Bale, mobility and computer technology with the help of Council for the blind and the Federation of the Visually Handicapped. Mr. Sam was a great strength for me. During this time I joined computer courses conducted by Ms. Manique Gunaratne of the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon. She directed me to complete the courses such as Microsoft Word, Computer Concepts, Windows Operations, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint and Use of Internet & E-mail successfully. Many times I was appreciated as her best student. Due to my dedication, I got my opportunity to teach computer technology to the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim blind students in Vavuniya. It is the most wonderful experience in my life.

When I look back of my life, I really feel a great happiness though I have come forward through a lot of difficulties and challenges. Today I’m in a good position by facing many challenges successfully. Now, I am spending a successful married life by getting married to a blind teacher of a government school, who was also an E.F.C. I.C.T. trainee. There are some people who helped me in this journey specially my Mother. Though their names are not mentioned, I think this is the best opportunity thank and bless them all.

gayan operating the computer

ENHANCING ETHICS AND ETTIQUETS TO PROMOTE SOCIAL JUSTICE FOR PEOPLE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS By Manique Gunaratne

One of the most unpleasant things about being a person with a disability has to deal with negative attitudes around you.

And it’s sad, but true, that it’s not uncommon that the people who look down at you because you are in a wheelchair or use a white cane to get around,

Are the very people who are supposed to help you and look after your interests?

Hospitals – especially government outfits – are, unfortunately, one of them.

People with disabilities are very much interested in trying to find out about their latest medical results.

They toss and turn in their beds with worry.

The first thing they unexpectedly receive is “greeted by” a rather plump, sour-faced, rude and grumpy face.

But what we do not like is being forced as a person with a disability is to take on the personal problems of the others.

Sometimes most places turn out to be places where more is done to ruin the “feel good factor” for you than to help you.

I have personal experience of numerous accounts from my friends with disabilities of horrible encounters with people with non-disabilities when they have to turn to them for help.

These include the frontline, the desk staff, higher-up officers and professional counselors in the society.

People with disabilities are treated with little respect and sometimes, no respect at all.

They can’t get assistance from the car park; no one is there to help those open heavy doors (which shouldn’t be there) in the department’s office.

Few would offer them a smile. Waiting to be attended to can take forever. Asking more than a couple of questions would be frowned upon.

Many of them are spoken to condescendingly, whilst others are literally not spoken to at all!

Some people turn their attention to their able-bodied helpers instead, assuming the real clients are unable to speak – or have little intelligence to

Respond.

I myself have come across frontline staff that was very impersonal with me, with their officious and detached tones.

Sometimes people dealing with us are so impersonal and snobbish that I was made to feel as if I should be “grateful” that they were even trying to help

Me in the first place.

As a trained person with a disability I, having served for over 15 years of well-known service in the disability field nationally and internationally, making a person feel

This way is the worst thing you can do to someone’s psyche when they come to you for assistance.

The question which really needs to be asked here is how well and properly trained people in the society are to help persons with disabilities.

Does each and every one of these able-bodied workers even realise that it is because of their clients that they have their jobs in the first place?

The good news, however, is all this now appears to be changing.

But whether this is happening only just in the urban the rural remains to be seen.

Several people with disabilities whom I have spoken to told me that now some people are more polite and genuinely caring towards them.

Many of us think these changes are coming about because of the advocacy and lobbying done in the disability field.

Department of Social Services organizes a social dialogue to discuss several areas of disability every month. This is a platform where persons with disabilities and persons with non-disabilities can take part to make justice for all. In March Ms. Manique Gunaratne did a presentation on “Enhancing ethics and etiquettes to promote social justice for children with special needs” at the Department of Social Services.

enhancing ethics and etiquettes at department of social services

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT AND UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (UNCRPD) FOR VISION IMPAIRED PERSONS By Manique Gunaratne

It is very important for vision impaired persons to be empowered and also to know their rights. People in the very grassroots level do not get any opportunity to be educated in their rights. UNCRPD clearly states the rights of persons with disabilities. The Sri Lanka Federation of the Visually Handicapped and Myright Sweden organized a workshop for 30 vision impaired persons in Kalutara, Galle, Matara and in Hambanthota districts. The participants were really enthusiastic to learn about the 50 articles of the UNCRPD. Practical training sessions made them understand more on the subject matter. Persons with disabilities are marginalized mainly due to lack of knowledge on their rights. Although persons with disabilities are subject to discrimination they hardly take legal action. The reason behind this is that they do not know the actions they should take as persons with disabilities. In June 2014 when this workshop was conducted at Dilena Hotel Ms. Manique Gunaratne was one of the resource persons.

activities for participants lecture on leadership development

MICROSOFT EXCEL FOR VISION IMPAIRED PERSONS By Manique Gunaratne

It is a real challenge for vision impaired persons to serve in the I.T. field. Changing mind set is really important when dealing with i.T. for vision impaired persons. To be equally capable as a sighted person a vision impaired person must develop their I.T. skills. Some sighted people always wonder how a blind person could operate a computer. It is the same computer a sighted person use but a screen reading software is installed which converts text to speech. Microsoft Excel is used to do mathematical calculations. It is very important for vision impaired persons to be employed in different fields. Training in Microsoft Excel opens the pathway for them to work in the accounting field. The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon I.C.t. Training Centre trained a group of vision impaired persons in Microsoft Excel in June 2014. Up to date 43 trainees have been trained in Microsoft Excel by Ms. Manique Gunaratne at this training centre.

 

E.F.C. I.C.T. TRAINING CENTRE STARTS A COURSE OF STUDY IN MICROSOFT POWERPOINT WITH A NEW GROUP OF VISION IMPAIRED PERSONS By Manique gunaratne

In March 2015 ms. Manique gunaratne started training on Microsoft PowerPoint with a new group of vision impaired persons at The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon I.C.T. Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities. Up to date E.f.C. have trained 37 vision impaired persons on Microsoft PowerPoint. These new eight trainees are:

1 Mr. Chandana De Silva (Job Seeker)

2 Mr. Pream Kumar (Job seeker)

3 Mr. Sayed Ahamed (Chemistry Teacher at Genius Acadamy)

4 Mr. Jeewan Lilaratne (Job seeker)

5 Mr. Sanjeewa Kumara (Job seeker)

6 Mr. M.W. Kulasiri (Job seeker)

7 Ms. Sanali Senanayake (Student, University of Colombo)

8 Sivapathasundaran Pratheepan (Student, University of Jaffna)

If you can provide an employment opportunity for any of the above job seekers please contact me.

 

 

 

 

 

monday morning powerpoint class 2 prethepan whitecane photo

WORLD VISION LANKA INCLUDES WOMEN WITH DISABILITIES IN THEIR INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY CELEBRATIONS By Manique Gunaratne

The month of March is a significant month for women as we celebrate the International Women’s Day. It is not only just for women but women with disabilities around the world celebrate the International Women’s Day. This year in order to bring inclusion to the society most Women’s Day celebrations were done together with women with disabilities and women with not yet with disabilities. The World Vision Lanka organized the International Women’s Day celebration at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute. This year’s theme was “Calling for Greater Equality – Make it Happen”. 

The Key Note Address was by Prof Maithree Wickramasinghe on Importance of Gender   Mainstreaming in Organizations and Humanitarian field. The other speakers were Ms. Manique Guneratne from The employers’ Federation of Ceylon on How to include women with disability to mainstream development, Ms. Cyrene Siriwardhana – Significant legal lessons learnt of tackling violence against Women and Rev Lionel Peris – Religious perspective (all faiths) of empowering women.

World Vision Lanka launched the “Men Care” manual at this occasion. The men care programme implemented by World Vision Lanka is a great support for women in Sri Lanka especially women in the plantation sector.

The street drama on “Domestic violence” had a very great impact on the society. It clearly indicated the causes of domestic violence and who are responsible for it and how you could reduce domestic violence.

World Vision Lanka donated a laptop to The E.F.C. I.C.T. Training Centre for the benefit of all women with disabilities.

The Sunday Island newspaper published an article. Please read the article on:

http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=121796

 

 

world vision women's day pannel