All posts by Manique


Employer sensitization programme at taprobane sea foods


As Taprobane Seafood continues to expand its business, opening more factories across the island, the company eagerly partnered with the EFC’s Disability

Network to ensure that persons with disabilities were also given the opportunity to work at the new seafood processing plants. On a windy Sunday morning Taprobane Seafood Managing Director Tim O’Reilly and his Operations Manager KanesasundramThusithan, headed up to their Jaffna crab processing plant for a very special visit. The Jaffna plant which was opened at the end of 2012 along with a similar one in Killinochi is involved

In the purchase and processing of crab meat for export markets, mainly in the USA.

The company, which is firmly committed to regenerating livelihoods especially in post conflict regions such as Jaffna, started operations with a workforce

Of 700 but in less than two years they have successfully created jobs and sustainable livelihoods for over a thousand employees. Having worked in the region

Since the company started, O’Reilly was fully aware that the level of disability in the north was significantly higher than the global average, as a result

Of the thirty year conflict. The company was keen to create a diverse workforce which included persons with disabilities workers and reflected the predominantly

Female demographic of the population in the area. That morning’s visit, was to formally welcome some of Taprobane’s newest recruits, all employees with disabilities, and to open Sara House, the purpose built accommodation nearby. To assist with the recruitment process, TSF enlisted the help of the Employers’

Federation of Ceylon (EFC). The EFC through their work with the International LabourOrganisation’s LEED Project (Local Empowerment through Economic Development)

Has been working in the north since 2011 training, developing and placing persons with disabilities into mainstream jobs, and linking them to established

Supply chains, with the help of the 600 plus employer companies who are members of the EFC, and who have operations in the region.

The EFC team applauded TSF’s proactivity in wanting to hire more persons with disabilities, and the dedication of its managers, “TSF is very interested to hire persons with disabilities”. “Mr. Thusithan was highly motivated and very supportive towards

This initiative. He showed incredible flexibility in understanding their different ways of working and their needs in the workplace. He would look at how

Work practices could be adapted to enable persons with different abilities to do the processing work. Mr. Thusithan was also very open to hearing about

Their home issues and seeing how TSF could help with work life balance.” Understanding that mobility, transport costs and getting to work is an issue for

Most persons with disabilities, TSF created Sara House, a purpose built accommodation for the workers situated near to the factory. The house was named

In honour of O’Reilly’s cousin Sara, who herself had a spinal disorder. “Sara House will enable 25 people with disabilities to live and work in a safe

And tolerant environment,” O’Reilly said. “This new initiative is the consequence of collaboration between Taprobane Seafood and the Employers’ Federation

Of Ceylon, facilitated by the International LabourOrganisation’s local empowerment through economic development project.” TSF successfully recruited 15

Women with disabilities to work in the plant and live at Sara House.SatheeskumarYogeswary was one of the successful candidates. Having sustained shrapnel wound in her arm, Satheeskumar resigned herself to the idea that she would never be able to work. “From the time I had my injury I was never able to find

Work or earn money for myself. I heard about this job from welfare place in my local community. I am so happy to be able to work.”

The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon team did an employer Sensitisationprogramme at Taprobane Sea Foods in October 2015 to sensitise the staff on “Disability Etiquettes” and “Accessibility”. The staff was really impressed about the training given to them. Ms. Sonali De Silva did the presentation on the “Introduction to network on disability”. Ms. ManiqueGunaratne did the presentations on “Disability etiquettes” and “Accessibility”. At the end of the programme the team visited the Sera House. It was a really successful programme.


Picture descriptions:

1 Group photograph of the participants.

taprobane sea foods group photo

2 Manique making a presentation.

taprobane sea foods manique presentation

3 Participants at the programme.

taprobane sea foods participants

4 Sera House for persons with disabilities.

taprobane sea foods sera house

5 Sonali making a presentation.

taprobane sea foods sonali presentation


Fax – 0094114547649


Fostering family engagement for persons with disabilities


The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon took another initiative to fostering family engagement for persons with disabilities in Jaffna district. 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, Kilinochchi and in Mannar districts few months ago.

In September 2015 persons with disabilities in Jaffna district got the opportunity to develop their skills. The workshop was held at Green Grass Hotel.

Persons with diverse disabilities were selected along with one family member for this workshop. Gender balance was also taken into consideration. Tamil translations were done by Mr. VijayaBasker.

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. Nesha Kumar from Cargills Ceylon Ltd. Shared his experience in employing persons with disabilities in their company.

An employee with a physical disability from Cargills Ceylon Ltd. spoke about his 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. ManiqueGunaratne and Mr. A. Kirushanthan 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 parent of a person with a disability who spoke about the impact of having her child 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.

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


Picture descriptions:

1 An employee from  Cargills Ceylon sharing his experiences.

family workshop cargills employee

2 Manique handing over the cheque to a small business holder.

family workshop cheque to business

3 Group photograph of the participants.

family workshop group

4 Role play of interview skills.

family workshop interview skills

5 Manique making a presentation on importance of doing a job.

family workshop manique presentation

6 Nesha Kumar doing a presentation.

family workshop nesha kumar

7 Participants of the workshop.

family workshop participants

8 Sonali making a presentation.

family workshop sonali presentation


Mobile – 0094779571918


The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Exhibits assistive devices at University of peradeniya


The Students Union of University of Peradeniya said that the exhibition stall done by The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon ICT Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities together with the students of the Special Skills Unit was one of the best stalls at the exhibition. In September 2015 the Students Union of University of Peradeniya organized an exhibition including all faculties of the University. Students with disabilities of the Special Skills Unit and The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon did a stall titled “Nayanalokaya” (which included assistive devices and technologies for persons with disabilities. More than 50 assistive devices specially designed for persons with disabilities were displayed at this stall.

Everyone who visited the stall was really impressed about the stall.

The EFC ICT Training Centre headed by Ms. ManiqueGunaratne is the only Centre in Sri Lanka which has the largest number of assistive devices and software for persons with disabilities especially for vision impaired persons.

The Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) has partnered with EFC ICT Training Centre to develop an application to learn English Language from the smart phone. Special feature of this application is that it has the speech facilities with the touch gestures. The SLIIT also displayed their device at this exhibition together with EFC. This application can be installed from EFC.

Please watch the video clip about the stall on the following link. The importance of this video clip is all persons involved in this video clip are persons with disabilities.


Picture descriptions:

1 Devices displayed.

devices displayed

2 Manique explaining the devices.

manique explaining the devices

3 The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon stall.

manique with the banner

4 Visitors checking the devices.

visitors checking items


Co-ordinator – ASSET (Advancing Special Skills for Economic Transformation) Project




Pedometer for vision impaired persons


The pedometer is an assistive device for vision impaired persons which has the talking facility. It makes your walking and jogging more easily with the talking facility. It speaks the distance and steps you have walked. It plays music while you are walking. It can be adjusted according to your jogging or walking tempo. Alarms can be also set according to the time you want to walk. You can also set the step length. Talking watch is also available in the pedometer. EFC ICT trainees make use of the pedometer at The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon ICT Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities.



Resource Person to Train, Promote & Develop Information & Communication Technology for Visually Impaired Persons


Stand magnifier for low vision persons


Sometimes it is believed that low vision persons are marginalized due to lack of assistive devices for them. The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, ICT Training Centre for persons with Disabilities assists low vision persons to be equally capable as sighted persons. Training materials are provided in large print and screen magnifier is also used to zoom the text in the computer screen. The stand magnifiers are used to make the printed document enlarge so that the low vision person could read the text easily. It can be kept on the table so that the document can be easily read.


Video description:

Describing the stand magnifier

stand magnifier


Tel. – 0094112867966


Seven vision impaired persons successfully completes Microsoft powerpoint


The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, ICT Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities up to date has trained 159 persons with disabilities on various courses in ICT skills. Microsoft PowerPoint is very important for a vision impaired person to make presentations for sighted audience. The course was conducted by Ms. ManiqueGunaratne. These trainees were also given training on Spoken English to develop their language skills. Ms. Vino Arumugam conducted the Spoken English training session. Up to date 31 vision impaired persons have successfully completed Microsoft PowerPoint. These trainees completed the course in September 2015. Mr. S. Pratheepan did a PowerPoint presentation at the workshop on “Community Means everyone” at Green Grass Hotel in Jaffna organized by EFC. It is really impressing to see the trainees utilizing the knowledge gained from the ICT Training Centre. Following are the seven vision impaired persons who successfully completed the course on Microsoft PowerPoint.

1 Mr. Chandana De Silva (Job seeker)

2 Mr. Pream Kumar (Job seeker)

3 Mr. JeewanLilaratne (Job seeker)

4 Mr. SayedAhamed (Chemistry Teacher at Genius Academy)

5 Mr. Sanjeewa Kumara (Job seeker)

6 Ms. SanaliSenanayake (Graduate from University of Colombo, Job seeker)

7 Mr. S. Pratheepan (Student, University of Jaffna)

We would greatly appreciate if you could assist us in finding employment for these persons. Please contact me on or


Picture description:

Group of trainees with Ms. ManiqueGunaratne at The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon



The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon,

385 J3 Old Kotte Road,


Sri Lanka.


Community means everyone


It was a different experience for all participants who attended the “Community Means everyone” workshop at Green Grass Hotel in Jaffna. The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon under the ILO LEED (Local Empowerment through Economic Development) project conducted a workshop for people working in the community who comes in direct contact with persons with disabilities. There were participants from Government officers as well as from private sector. It is very important for people with non-disabilities to be sensitized on matters relating to persons with disabilities.

Ms. Sonali De Silva made the introduction to EFC Network on Disability and changing mind sets. “Disability etiquettes when dealing with persons with disabilities” was done by Ms. Maniquegunaratne. All participants learned how to interact with people with disabilities. Next two sessions were an eye opener for the community because persons with disabilities spoke on barriers they have in the community and Expectations of a person with a disability of what they expect from the society. Barriers faced were done by EFC trainee Mr. SivapathasundaranPratheepan and Mr. Vignesh explained what they expect from the society. Access to build environment was done by Ms. ManiqueGunaratne, requesting the decision makers to make public buildings access to all. Access is not only for persons  with disabilities but to everyone including senior citizens, pregnant mothers, mothers carrying babies, people carrying heavy luggage etc.

The case studies done by Ms. ManiqueGunaratne gave the participants the practical approach of dealing with people with disabilities in the community.

Mr. A. Kirushanthan, the Project Manager for the North did the ground work to make the workshop successful and Mr. Vijabasker assisted in translations. At the end of the workshop all participants signed a pledge by committing themselves to do one or more activities for all persons with disabilities. It was a happy conclusion when all the participants had a group photograph holding the pledge and committing them to include persons with disabilities in the mainstream of development.


Picture descriptions:

1 Group photograph of participants holding the  pledge.

community workshop group with pledge

2 Manique making a presentation.

community workshop manique presentation

3 Manique, Sonali and Vijaya at the head table.

community workshop manique sonali wijaya

4 Participants at the workshop.

community workshop participants

5 Pratheepan making a presentation.

community workshop pratheepan presentation

6 Vignesh making a presentation.

community workshop vignesh presentation


CISCO International Trainer for I T E (Information Technology Essentials)

20 persons with disabilities supported by EFC to expand their businesses

20 persons with disabilities supported by EFC to expand their businesses


The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Network on Disability took another initiative in the disability field. Under the LEED (Local Empowerment through Economic Development) Project sponsored by the ILO, 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 September 2015 EFC granted loans for 20 persons with disabilities to expand their businesses. The handing over of cheques was held at a small function organized by EFC at Nellystar Hotel in Vavuniya district. Statistics show that in the North, 80% of the families are woman headed families. To address this issue the EFC team selected 9 males and 11 female business holders. The loans were granted to 7 persons with physical disabilities, 7 wheel chair users, 3 persons with hearing impairment and 3 vision impaired persons. 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, 3 for milking cows, manufacture of leather hand bags, 2 for poultry farming, agro industry, onion cultivation, sewing and beauty culture, baby shop, cycle parts and repair shop, 2 for vegetable and banana cultivation, and 2 for grocery shops. The project allocated loan facilities for a total of Rs. 1,600,000. All small business holders who benefited from the project were invited for the function organized by the EFC. At Nellystar Hotel, the welcome note was delivered by Ms. ManiqueGunaratne. Ms. Sonali De Silva explained about the activity on small business development. Ms. Sonali De Silva, Ms. ManiqueGunaratne and Mr. A. Kirushanthan handed over the cheques to the beneficiaries. One beneficiary spoke on her success story. The EFC team wishes them all the success to develop their businesses.


Picture descriptions:

1 ManiqueGunaratne handing over the cheque to a small business holder.

handing over Cheque to small business

2 Group photograph of the small business holders.

small business Group photo

3 Sonali De Silva making a presentation.

Sonali making a presentation

4 Welcome note by ManiqueGunaratne

welcome note by manique



Executive Committee Member – Disability Organisations’ Joint Front


Three wheeler MODIFICATIONS for drivers with disabilities


The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, 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 12 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 12 three wheelers (tuktuks). Brake pads and seat adjustments were made to the tuktuks. In September 2015 these modified three wheelers were handed over to a happy bunch of drivers with disabilities at a function organized by The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon at Nellystar Hotel in Vavuniya. At the function, the welcome note was delivered by ManiqueGunaratne and Sonali De Silva explained how the vehicle modification was done. Ms. ManiqueGunaratne, Ms. Sonali De Silva and Mr. A. Kirushanthan handed over the modified three wheelers (tuktuks) to the benificiaries. One beneficiary spoke on  how he benefited from the modification which was an eye opener for the rest of the community. The EFC team made a field visit to thank the garage owner who did an excellent job in modifying the vehicles. The drivers were really happy so that now they can drive safely, earn their living and also expand their small businesses. Some drivers have already started their three wheeler hires and school hires. It was a happy moment for the EFC team to see the smiling faces of these persons with disabilities.


Picture descriptions:

1 Garage owner with the garage which modified the three wheelers.

Garage owner

2 Group photograph of the three wheeler benificiaries

Group photo 3 wheeler beneficeries

3 Happy driver with a disability driving the modified three wheeler

Modified 3 Wheeler

4 Participants at the programme

participants at the three wheeler modification

5 Manique welcoming the participants at the programme

welcome note by manique


Vice Chair Person – South Asian Disability Forum


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