Category Archives: Employment for Persons with Disabilities


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



Unilever Sri Lanka launched a Diversity Board involving a team of senior managers to drive the diversity and inclusion agenda at the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel in December 2018. Unilever Sri Lanka invited Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon for their internal launch ceremony to share personal experience and expertise on driving diffability.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Manique and the audience.

2 Manique at the panel.

3 Sign language session.


Manique Gunaratne

Viber: 0094779571918


Pizza Hut together with The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Network on Disability initiated “Change the World – Learn a New Language”. Pizza Hut trained hearing impaired school leavers from School for the Deaf in Ratmalana in a special bakery course at Pizza Hut. These hearing impaired persons are now working at Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut Thimbirigasyaya outlet at Siripa Road is now a dedicated outlet with employees with disabilities. Management of Pizza Hut, Country Director of the International Labour Organisation – Ms. Simring Singhe, Director General of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Mr. Kanishka Weerasinghe, Ms. Manique Gunaratne and Ms. Ayasana Gunasekera and the Management of School for the Deaf Ratmalana were present at this historical moment of opening the outlet in November 2018. Customers can have a new experience in using sign language.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Hearing impaired employees.

2 Lighting of the oil lamp.

3 Manique and Ayasana.

4 Manique lighting the oil lamp.

5 Cutting the ribbon to open the outlet.

6 Parents putting the badges on their children.

7 Pizza Hut with employees with disabilities.

8 Opening Ceremony.

Manique Gunaratne

Member – Internet Society Sri Lanka Chapter


Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon was a panelist at the “Inclusion of persons with disabilities into the labour market” conference organized by GIZ at Taj Samudra Hotel in November 2018. The conference covered the areas on living with disability in Sri Lanka, including persons with disabilities into vocational training, sign language glossary, experiencing disability, including persons with disabilities into work place, challenges and possible solutions.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Banner.

2 Manique, Chammi, Ayasana and Mohamed.

3 Manique speaking.

4 Pannel discussion.

Manique Gunaratne

Fax – 0094112867946


“Shaping the Future of Work”

The World is evolving into an era where artificial intelligence is facilitating businesses to thrive produce goods and services in a more efficient and sustainable manner.  The proliferation of robotic technology has however been looked upon as a challenge and sometimes even as a threat by workers and their representatives.  The changes that are taking place around us due to the impact of digitalization and automation cannot be rolled back.  In fact the development of advance technology is picking up pace and is adding to the debate whether the human labour element could be reduced or be replaced altogether.

Research shows that about 40% of all US jobs are at the risk of being replaced by intelligent algorithms or production robots whilst some 70% of Thailand and India is also at risk for similar reasons.  The impact of digitalization and automation knows no boundaries and has affected both blue and white collar workers alike.  In this backdrop it is perceived that the world is moving away from traditional employment structures to more autonomous work situations that includes with more opportunities being created to be self-employed.

The challenges stakeholders have had to contend with are many.  Bureaucrats and policy makers have had to grapple with issues far from their comfort zones.  However, it is timely that we take a stock of such matters to better understand how this transitional phase should be navigated with minimum, if not a manageable impact both in terms of cost to labour and resources.

Diversity has become a feature in our work places and in the era of technological advancement opportunities have been created for certain isolated segments of society such as persons with disabilities to productively contribute to the workforce and national economies.  Diverse forms of employment which are expanding due to high demand specially by women have also created better work opportunities whilst ensuring value such as work life balance and social obligations.  In fact the changes that are taking place in the world of work have enabled women to participate in much greater numbers than ever before.

As we look at the broader issues in relation to shaping the future of work it will be foolhardy to think of achieving success if we did not take on board the aspirations of workers of different generations.  In countries where an aging population is emerging – Sri Lanka being one – the importance of ensuring that we reap demographic dividends cannot be much emphasized.

The Employer Symposium focused and discussed a gamut of issues that shaped the future of the work focusing on the following topics.

  • Impact of Digitalization and Automation – The experience of Employers
  • Challenges of Transition – The Policy Makers’ Perspective
  • Future of Work we want – An Employee perception
  • Managing Diversity – A discussion with those who matter

Symposium comprised of a broader discussion based on case study presentations and panel discussions by eminent experts representing business, policy makers, cooperate management as well as employees drawn from a wide array of sectors.

Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon made a presentation of the “Employers’ Network on Disability”. And was also one of the panelists at the panel on “Diversity and inclusion” at Hotel Galadari in November 2018.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 At the fellowship.

2 Manique in the audience.

3 Manique making a presentation.

4 Manique at the panel with the audience.

5 Manique speaking on stage.

6 Manique at the panel.

7 Mr. Prasad De Silva presenting the token of appreciation to Manique

Manique Gunaratne

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


World University Service of Canada (WUSC) Sri Lanka, together with IPM and the National Chamber of Commerce, had a National Event on Diversity and Inclusion Human Resource Toolkit for MSMEs in October 2018 at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute. Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon was a panelist to discuss about issues pertaining integrating youth with different needs into diverse workforce. Professor Maithree Wickramasinghe was the chief guest.

The Diversity and Inclusion Human Resource Toolkit is developed for MSMEs for employing women and youth into workforce and it offers information on nine different components of human resource development in the workplace. The objective of the toolkit is to improve the productivity of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by developing a simple HR system and good, inclusive HR practices to accommodate youth and women into workforce. Thereby create a better, conducive, harassment free workplace for young men and women in Sri Lanka.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Manique at the panel.

2 Manique with Prof. Maithree Wickramasinghe.

3 Manique conducting a session.

4 Manique speaking at the panel.

5 Distant view of the panel.


Manique Gunaratne

Vice President – Rehab Lanka Sports Club for Persons with Disabilities


Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon was a speaker at the 5th annual meeting of the ILO Global Business and Disability Network and in the 2nd global meeting of National Business and Disability Networks, held in October 2018 at the International Labour Office (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland.

This annual meeting of National Business and Disability Networks (NBDNs) and their allies provides a unique opportunity to dive deeper into technical exploration of experiences and alliances in at country level. Business and Disability Networks face similar challenges but are in very different institutional positions and stages of development around the world. In this meeting, we learn from each other and see how to collaborate going forward. As such, it is also relevant for organizations looking to strengthen country-specific work on the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the private sector.

2017 saw the first global meeting of NBDNs. These networks – which exist in over twenty countries – bring together businesses and other partners to work for disability inclusion.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Group photograph.

2 ILO flags.

3 Manique and Essia.

4 Manique near banner at the conference.

5 Manique with the representative from the Indian Business Network.

6 Manique and Jurgen.

7 Manique at the panel.

8 Manique speaking.

9 Networking lunch.

10 Networking with Business Networks.

11 Steering committee meeting.

12 At the United Nations.

13 At United Nations with UN flags.

14 At United Nations near the logo.

Manique Gunaratne

Supported Employment Officer – Northern Ireland Union of Supported Employment