All posts by Manique


EFC ICT trainees receive scholarships for university education


The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon awarded two scholarships for two vision impaired university students. Mr. AnushaDissanayake from University of Peradeniya and Ms. RasikaRatnayake from University of Colombo were selected for this scholarship. These two vision  impaired persons are following the ICT training at The Employers’ Federation of  Ceylon, ICT Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities under the leadership  of Ms. ManiqueGunaratne. The scholarships were sponsored by CIC Educational & Charitable Trust. A total sum of Rs. 36,000 was awarded to these two students. The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon wishes them all the success for their studies.


Picture descriptions:

1 Awarding the scholarship to Mr. AnushaDisanayake by Ms. ManiqueGunaratne

awarding the scholarship to anusha

2 Awarding the scholarship to Ms. RasikaRatnayake

awarding the scholarship to rasika

3 Group photo with Ms. ManiqueGunaratne, Mr. AnushaDissanayake and Ms. RasikaRatnayake

manique anusha and rasika


Executive Committee Member – Asian blind Union



The Visually Handicapped Trust Fund Board provides numerous services for vision impaired persons. This board is under the Ministry of Social Services. This board was established by an act in 1993. The Chair Person of the board is the Secretary to the Ministry of Social Services. The rest of the board members are Director of Social Services, Representative from the Prime Minister’s Office, Director of the Disability Secretariat, Board secretary, treasurer and five vision impaired persons. Ms. ManiqueGunaratne was a board member of the Visually Handicapped Trust Fund from 2010 to 2015. The Visually Handicapped Trust Fund provides many services for vision impaired persons in Sri Lanka such as scholarships for vision impaired university students, school children, scholarships for sighted students of vision impaired parents, medical assistance, assistance for assistive devices, sports activities of vision impaired persons and many other projects related to vision impaired persons.      




Executive Committee Member – Daisy Lanka Foundation




Rights based approach for organisations working for vision impaired persons


The Asian Blind Union organized a workshop on “Right based approach of organisations” in August 2015 at Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott Riyadh Diplomatic Quarter in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

There were vision impaired participants from South Asia, Central Asia, Middle East and the Executive Committee Members of the Asian Blind Union.

The following areas were taken into consideration.

Expectation sharing.

Criteria of representative organisations representing vision impaired persons.

Roles and mandates of organisations working for vision impaired persons.

Organisations priorities and human rights.

Human rights principles.

Organisations process and human rights principles.

Distinction between charities based, needs based and right based models.

Language of rights based organisations.

Organisational assessment.

Human rights based approach to development.

Civil society and rights based organisations.

Paradigm and history of rights.

Frame work tool and instruments to Millennium Development Goal.

Application of rights based organisations.

Challenges and constraints.

Executive Committee Member of the Asian Blind Union, Ms. ManiqueGunaratne participated at this really informative and fruitful workshop.


Picture descriptions:

1 The organisers took the delegates to a barbecue dinner at an Arabic restaurant. Everyone enjoying the dinner.

traditional Arabic Dinner

2 It was really fun when all the ladies wore the traditional Abaya dress. It was compulsory to wear the Abaya for women when going outside of the hotel.

group waring abaya

3 First day all the delegates enjoyed a traditional Arabic dinner at a traditional Cottage Hotel. It was their tradition to have the ladies in one room and men in another room. The delegates enjoyed the dinner sitting on the ground. Traditional Arabic coffee, dates, traditional Arabic food was served.

barbacue dinner

4 Enjoying the lectures at the workshop.

Workshop participant 2

5 Listening to a fruitful presentation.

workshop participants



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


The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon includes persons with disabilities at the workshop on “Community means everyone”


The EFC LEED (Local Empowerment through Economic Development) team conducted a workshop on “Community means everyone”, at Mardap (Mannar District Differently Abled People Organisation) in Mannar district in August 2015. The main objective of this workshop was to make the community be aware of rights of persons with disabilities. 20 participants with non-disabilities were selected from different sectors of the community. These participants were from public sector as well as from the private sector.

The workshop was conducted in English with Tamil translations by Mr. A. Kirushanthan. The welcome and the “introduction to EFC network on disability” was done by Ms. Sonali De Silva. “Disability etiquettes” was done by Ms. ManiqueGunaratne. This session had a very good impact on the community because most of the participants did not know the do’s and don’ts of when interacting with a person with a disability. “Barriers faced by persons with disabilities and what they expect from the society” was done by a person with a physical disability. A Social Service Officer did a presentation on the services available for persons with disabilities. “Changing mindset was done by Ms. Sonali De Silva.

Workshops are a learning flat form for everyone. But this workshop had a difference. All participants had to commit themselves by signing a pledge. The pledge had seven areas each person could commit themselves to work on. Each person committed to do one or more thing in the pledge.

It was a happy end of a workshop with smiling faces where all took a photograph holding the pledge.


Picture descriptions:

Group photograph of the participants of the community workshop.

community group photo

Participants of the community workshop.

community workshop

Manique making a presentation on disability etiquettes.

disability ettiquettes by manique

Sonali making a presentation on EFC network on disability.

networkondisability by sonali @ community




Founder Members Team – South Asian Women with Disabilities Network


The employers’ federation of Ceylon assists drivers with disabilities to modify their vehicles


The LEED (Local Empowerment through Economic Development) Project with the support of the ILO took another initiative to bring drivers with disabilities back to work. Research done by the EFC team showed that it is important to modify the vehicles of persons with physical disabilities and wheel chair users. There was a very big demand from the drivers to modify their vehicles so that they can be back on the road smart as ever. The EFC team selected 10 drivers with disabilities which included drivers with physical disabilities and wheel chair users to modify their three wheelers. A garage owner was selected to do these modifications for 10 three wheelers (tuktuks). Brake pads and seat adjustments were made to the tuktuks. In August 2015 these modified three wheelers were handed over to a happy bunch of drivers with disabilities at a function organized by EFC at Mardap (Mannar District Differently Abled People)  inMannar district. The drivers were really happy so that now they can drive safely, earn their living and also expand their small businesses. It was a happy moment for the EFC team to see the smiling faces of these persons with disabilities and their families.


Picture description:

Ms. ManiqueGunaratne handing over the document of vehicle modification to a wheel chair user.

three wheeler modification to wheel chair user


(Honoured, Desha Bandu) Ms. H.K. ManiqueGunaratne


The employers’ federation of Ceylon supports SMALL BUSINESS holders with disabilities


The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Network on Disability took another initiative in the disability field. Under the LEED (Local Empowerment through Economic Development) Project the EFC is supporting 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. Therefore, the LEED project grants interest free loans for persons with disabilities to expand their businesses. It is very important to have entrepreneurs with disabilities.

The interest free loans are granted after proper analysis by the EFc team. In August 2015 EFC granted loans for 10 persons with disabilities to expand their businesses. The handing over of cheques was held at a small function organized by EFC at Mardap in Mannar district. To have a gender balance the EFC team selected 5 males and 5 female business holders. The loans were granted to 5 persons with physical disabilities, 4 wheel chair users and one person with a hearing impairment. These candidates have different types of businesses. It was very encouraging to see them involved in different businesses. The types of businesses they were doing were two candidates for fishing nets, phone repairing shop, curd business, CD shop, milking cows, poultry farming, agro industry, sewing and beauty culture. The project allocated loan facilities for a total of Rs. 800,000.


Picture descriptions:

Presenting the cheque by Ms. ManiqueGunaratne to a small business holder with a physical disability for manufacturing of fishing nets.

presenting cheque for small business fishing nets physical disability

Presenting the cheque by Ms. ManiqueGunaratne for a small business holder using a wheel chair for manufacturing fishing nets.

presenting the cheque to small business fishing nets wheel chair




Face time: 0094779571918


Fostering family engagement for persons with disabilities in Mannar district


The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon took another initiative to fostering family engagement for persons with disabilities. Due to cultural barriers, family background and over protection by the parents, persons with disabilities find very difficult to be placed in employment.

The ILO (International LabourOrganisation) LEED (Local empowerment through Economic Development) project is being implemented by The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon since 2011. Now they are implementing the phase 4 of the project. Fostering family engagements workshops were done in Mulativu and in Kilinochchi districts few months ago.

In August 2015 persons with disabilities in Mannar district got the opportunity to develop their skills. The workshop was held at Mardap (Mannar District Differently Abled People) organization. The organization had all the accessibility features for persons with disabilities. That was the reason for the EFC team to decide on a barrier free venue like Mardap.

20 participants were selected along with one family member for this workshop. To give equal opportunities for people with diverse disabilities. Vision impaired, hearing impaired and persons with physical disabilities were involved in the workshop. Gender balance was also taken into consideration. The workshop had sign language interpretation throughout the workshop. Tamil translations were done by the EFC Project Manager for North, Mr. A. Kirushanthan.

The introduction to EFC Network on Disability was done by Ms. Sonali De Silva. Ms. ManiqueGunaratne did the presentation on “Importance of doing a job”.

Mr. Samantha, the Branch Manager of Singer Finance Ltd. Madawachchiya Shared his experience in employing persons with disabilities in their company.

EFC ICT trainees Mr. RangaSampath (vision impaired) who was placed in employment at Singer Finance Ltd.  By EFC and Ms. ArumuganathanArthika (vision impaired) Assistant Manager CargillsVavuniya Branch who was also placed in employment by EFC, spoke about their experience in being gainfully employed.  These two sessions had a very good impact on persons with disabilities who are seeking for employment and I am sure even the family members realized the importance of their child been employed.

Next was the session on how to write a proper CV and interview skills. The session was conducted by Ms. Sonali De Silva, Ms. Ayomi Fernando and Ms. ManiqueGunaratne from EFC. The role play made very interesting for the participants to learn the right skills to develop their confidence to face a job interview.

Participants enjoyed a delicious lunch and thereafter had an interactive session with a wife of an employee with a disability who spoke about the impact of having her husband earning, supporting the family and being a successful citizen in society.

A person with a physical disability spoke on what is expected from the parents and family, Disability Barriers – one showing how families

Can be a barrier to a person with a disability, even though they have good intentions at heart.

The session on “Changing mind set” was conducted by Ms. Sonali De Silva.

Workshops are a learning flat form for everyone. But this workshop had a difference. All participants including family members had to commit themselves by signing a pledge. The pledge had seven areas each person could commit themselves to work on. Each person committed to do one or more thing in the pledge. At the workshops held in Mulativu and Kilinochchi, the EFC team selected a winner who committed to do the most number of areas in the disability field. The winner was the District Service Officer from Mulativu, Mr. Thasarasan. The award was given to a representative from the Mulativu District Office by Ms. ManiqueGunaratne.

It was a happy end of a workshop with smiling faces where all took a photograph holding the pledge.

MardapOrganisation had a group of persons with disabilities who were making handicraft items. The EFC team bought a big box full of handicraft items to bring to Colombo to do a sales promotion for them.


Picture descriptions:


EFC trainees Arthika and Ranga sharing their experiences at the workshop.

aarthika and ranga making a presentation

Representative from the Mulativu District Office receiving the award for the pledge.

award for the winner of the pledge

Family workshop group photograph.

family workshop group photo

Manique making a presentation on importance of doing a job.

family workshop manique making presentation

Sonali making a presentation on EFC network on disability.

Participants of the workshop.

family workshop participants

Branch Manager Singer Finance, Samantha making a presentation.

presentation by singer finance



Whats up: 0094779571918



Persons with disabilities fight for their rights during parliamentary elections 2015


First time in the history in Sri Lanka a group of persons with disabilities contested for the parliamentary elections in 2015. They contested for two districts in Sri Lanka. There were very good awareness about the rights of persons with disabilities during the campaign. More facilities were provided for persons with disabilities during the election process such as allowing a family member to go with a vision impaired persons, accessibility facilities in polling booths, transportation etc. Please read the articles on the following links.

Daily Mirror…/differently-abled-to-contest-in…

Divaina 16 August 2015

Sunday Observer 9 August 2015

Daily Financial Times 16 August 2015–Perera-laments-political-apathy-towards-the-disabled

Daily Mirror 7 August 2015

Dinamina August 2015

Dinamina 10 August 2015



Viber: 0094779571918


American Centre includes persons with disability to celebrate 25 years of American disability act


The American Centre Sri Lanka celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the world’s first

Comprehensive law guaranteeing equality of

Opportunity to persons with disabilities. The American Centre organized a programme at the Full Bright Commission, titled “Lives Worth Living” A Global Interactive Web chat on Disability Rights and Education. The Great Fight for Disability Rights Web chat was with Special Guests:

Judy Heumann, U.S. Department of State’s Special Advisor for

Persons with Disabilities

Ann Cody, International Paralympian and member of the Internal-

tional Paralympic Committee

King Jorden, former first deaf president of Gallaudet University.

It was followed by a Panel Discussion with:

Dr. Mario Gomez (Moderator), Executive Director of International Center for Ethnic Studies

Dr. PadmaniMendis, Advisor, Disability and Rehabilitation

Dr. ChandaniLiyanage, Head, Center for Disability Research, Education and Practice

(CeDREP, University of Colombo)

Mr. Cyril Siriwardene, Vice President, Disability Organizations Joint Front

Mr. SeevaliSeneviratne, President, Sri Lanka Central Federation of the Deaf

Mr. IshanJalill, Founder, Action Against Apathy

Ms. ManiqueGunaratne also participated at this forum and contributed in ideas on employing persons with disabilities.


Picture description:

Panelists of the programme


Manique Gunaratne

Blog: efcnetworkondisability.employers.lkamerican centre pannel discussion


Daisy (digital accessible information system) books for vision impaired persons


Digital Accessible Information System, or DAISY, is a means of creating digital talking books for people who wish to hear—and navigate—written material

Presented in an audible format; many such listeners have print disabilities including blindness, impaired vision, dyslexia or other issues.

Using DAISY, a talking book format is presented with enabled navigation within a sequential and hierarchical structure consisting of (marked-up) text synchronized

With audio.

DAISY 2 was a standard based on XHTML and SMIL

DAISY 3 is also based on XML and is standardized as ANSI/NISO Z39.86-2005 (R2012)

DAISY assists people who, for different reasons, have problems using regular printed media. DAISY books have the benefits of regular [[audiobooks]], but

They are superior because DAISY 2.02 provides up to six embedded “navigation levels” for content (i.e. other objects such as images, graphics, [[MathML]]

Etc.)and for displaying synchronized text to speech. DAISY Multimedia can be a talking book, computerized text or a synchronized presentation of text and


As a result, DAISY books allow the blind listener to navigate an encyclopedia; this is impossible using conventional audio recordings because they lack

Search and [[navigation features]] and they require linear listening

While reading a DAISY book, a reader can go to the next or previous page, chapter or sentence. DAISY is for everyone who needs accessible information and

For everyone who loves to read.

The DAISY Consortium has been selected by the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) as the official maintenance agency for the DAISY/NISO

Standard, officially, the ANSI/NISO Z39.86, Specifications for the Digital Talking Book, known as DAISY 3.

The DAISY Consortium was founded in 1996 and consists of a growing membership of organizations around the world committed to developing equitable access

To information for people who have a [[print disability]].

DAISY books can be heard on standalone DAISY players and computers using DAISY playback software

Mobile phones, and MP3 players – with limited navigation. DAISY books can be distributed on a CD/DVD, memory card or through the Internet.

A computerized text DAISY book can be read using refreshable Braille display or screen-reading software, printed as Braille book on paper, converted to

A talking book using synthesised voice or a human narration, and also printed on paper as large print book. In addition, it can be read as large print

Text on computer screen.

Software-based players include:

◾ GH PLAYER, a commercial DAISY player

◾ AMIS – Adaptive Multimedia Information System – an open-source self-voicing player for Windows that works with several screen readers; developed by the

DAISY Consortium

Emerson-reader, an open-source and cross-platform Epub and DAISY player

Dorina DAISY Reader (DDReader)

ButtercupReader, a web-based application for DAISY 3 books

CUCAT Olearia, an open-source DAISY reader for Mac OS X

Daisy Delight (DAISY 2.02, for Mac OS X and Unix-based systems)

DAISY Book Reader, GTK Daisy Talking Book reader application

Other relevant software:

Daisy Uppsala Archive Project, server-side system for managing DAISY (Digital Talking Books) files

Online Daisy Delivery Technology, open-source software to deliver DAISY books online

Hardware Players

There are also a wide range of hardware products available that can play DAISY content, usually in a portable form factor. Some of these devices are dedicated

To playback of books, while others focus on other functionality, such as PDA or mobile Internet access, and offer DAISY playback as either a feature of

The unit or as a software add-on.

In Sri Lanka the DAISY Lanka Foundation is committed to produce DAISY books for vision impaired persons and persons with print disabilities. The DAISY Lanka Foundation has undertaken many projects to fill the gap of lack of reading materials for especially in our local language (Sinhala). Ms. ManiqueGunaratne is the former Secretary of the DAISY Lanka Foundation and from 2014 she is an Executive Committee Member.



Face Book – ManiqueGunaratne