BEYOND THE REACH IN WESTERN PROVINCE

The Sri Lanka Chapter of the Internet Society together with The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Network on Disability implemented “Beyond the Reach” project to train vision impaired persons on “Surfing the internet”.
This project is designed to make life easy for visually impaired people in Sri Lanka. This concept was borne while serving the soldiers with disabilities in Sri Lanka Army. As per the statistics available, over twenty million population nearly 200,000+ believed to be blind due to various reasons.(source news.lk) As per the internet for all concept in ISOC. The Internet Society is planning to make their life easy by giving them the access to information .(Websites, Kiosaks). Training sessions will be plan to make them aware of techniques in how to use internet for their development. There are two main target groups such as general public and soldiers. Considering the travelling difficulties of selected group ISOC will create a mobile lab and will deliver the training by sending trainers to the different geographical locations. Most of the websites in Sri Lanka does not include the techniques and support for accessibility of vision impaired people. Therefore, the web developers will be trained by giving them the training to improve accessibility of visually impaired people. On the other hand by installing kiosaks with supporting tools for visually impaired in government institutions such as public libraries and vidiatha centers will enable to access them government information websites easily. For example if some one want to get birth certificate by accessing government web site where it does not contain support for visually impaired , kiosak created by this projects will cater for their needs without depending on others and stand on their feet.
We want them to see the world through the eyes of internet and stand on their feet.
The Beyond the Reach inauguration was held at the EFC auditorium in January 2017. Ms. Sagarika Wickramasekara – President Internet Society, Mr. Kanishka Weerasinghe – Director General, Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, and Ms. Manique Gunaratne – Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, and Mr. Minuwan Deshapriya – Assistant Secretary of Internet Society spoke at the inauguration. The Training was conducted by Ms. Manique Gunaratne At the newly up-graded EFC ICT Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities. A group of vision impaired persons together with few soldiers with physical disabilities from Anuradhapura Senapura Camp were trained at this residential training programme. The main objective of this training was to reach marginalized groups which the society thinks not reachable and make them empowered to gather information to develop their skills and knowledge. Certificates were awarded at the end of the 5 day training. Ms. Sagarika Wickramasekara, Mr. Kanishka Weerasinghe, Ms. Manique Gunaratne, Mr. Maheeswara Kirindigoda – Secretary, Internet Society, Ms. Deepashika Gunasekara from Plan Sri Lanka, Mr. Krishantha Pathirana from Maharaja TV and beneficiaries from the Sri Lanka Army and from the civil society spoke at the closing ceremony. The first “Beyond the Reach” programme was done in Uva Province.

Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:
1 Group photograph at the inauguration inaguration group photo

2 Head table at the inauguration.
inaguration head table

3 Mr. Kanishka Weerasinghe making a speech.
inaguration kanishka speach

4 Lighting of the oil lamp.
inaguration lighting oil lamp

5 Participants.inaguration participants

6 Ms. Sagarika Wickramasekara making a speech.inaguration sagarika speach
7 Training on day 1.day 1 training
8 Training on day 2.day 2 training
9 Training on day 3.day 3 training
10 Training on day 4.day 4 training
11 Training on day 5.day 5 training
12 Audience at the closing ceremony.closing audience
13 ms. Deepashika Gunasekara making a speech at the closing ceremony.closing deepashika speach
14 Group photograph at the closing ceremony.closing group photo
15 Head table at the closing ceremony.closing head table
16 Ms. Isuri Ayeshmi speaking as a participant at the closing ceremony.
17 Mr. Kanishka Weerasinghe making speech at the closing ceremony.closing isuri speach
18 Mr. Krishantha Pathirana speaking at the closing cerramony.closing kanishka
19 Mr. Mahees Kirindigoda speaking at the closing ceremony.closing mahees speach
20 Ms. Manique Gunaratne speaking at the closing ceremony.closing manique speach
21 Participants receiving certificates.closing participants receiving certificates
22 Participants.closing participants
23 Mr. Chaminda Ratnayake from the Sri Lanka Army speaking at the closing ceremony.closing ratnayake speach
24 Ms. Sagarika Wickramasekara speaking at the closing ceremony.closing sagarika speach

Manique Gunaratne
Fax – 0094112867946

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