Category Archives: Employment for Persons with Disabilities

SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC INCLUSION

Empowering Persons with Disabilities is important to address the prevailing issues of social and economic inclusion of Persons with Disability in Sri Lanka.  To address the issue of social and economic inclusion, the Prime Minister’s Office has established a sub-Committee on Vocational and Technical Training focusing on Persons with Disabilities and in line with the government’s “Vision 2025”. This committee represents many stakeholders from the private sector, including State Vocational Training Institutions under the Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training and Ministry of Social Empowerment and Welfare.

The Sub-Committee scheduled a “Train the Trainer Program” in September 2017 for private sector companies who are passionate in lending a hand to persons with disabilities. The Train the Trainer Program was held at the Training Institute for Technical Professionals (TITP).

Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre conducted the training sessions on “Disability etiquettes” on day 1, “Accessible formats for persons with disabilities” on day 2 and “Access to build environment” on day 3.

 

Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Day 1 Manique conducting the session

2 Day 1 participants.

3 Day 2 Manique conducting the session.

4 Day 2 Manique instructing on sighted guide technique.

5 Day 2 participants.

6 Day 3 Manique conducting the session.

Manique Gunaratne

Fax – 0094112867946

EFCS EMPLOYERS’ NETWORK ON DISABILITY CALLS THE CORPORATES TO CHAMPION INCLUSIVITY

“By offering more employment opportunities for those with disabilities, you will be doing yourself a favour,” reflected the Director General of the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) Kanishka Weerasinghe, addressing the EFCs Employers’ Network on Disability which met last month to re-constitute the committee drawn from the EFC member companies. Calling upon a gathering of employers, including the new steering committee representing 14 member companies, the EFC Chief urged the network to open more employment opportunities to people with disabilities who have proven to be productive partners in the workforce. “What most of us take for granted such as commuting to work is a challenge for those with disabilities; yet despite all those odds, their attendance and punctuality are far superior to those blessed with all faculties,” asserted Weerasinghe urging for an inclusive workplace. He also reminded that sustainability is all about showcasing best practices.

 

The EFC Employers’ Network on Disability which was set up in 1999 with the support of the ILO, seeks to champion productive employment for those with disabilities while empowering them to retain employment at the same time. Offering a broad spectrum of facilities including job preparation, job placements, ICT training, life skills including English language skills to those with disabilities, the Network is also armed with a fully equipped digital library and a resource centre. “These facilities are open to undergraduates, post graduate students and even job seekers,” says Manique Gunaratne, Manager, Specialised Training and Disability Resource Centre. The ICT Training Centre which is now upgraded into a fully-fledged centre is the only facility in the country which renders ICT know-how to persons with diverse disabilities. The facility also made history as the first ever CISCO-accredited academy for persons with diverse disabilities in the country.

 

Offering an array of other facilities including printing of braille and large print pocket calendars, Access Audits for companies, the ICT training centre has also taken strides to connect ICT students with disabilities through virtual platforms. “This initiative was made possible through a partnership with the Internet Society of Sri Lanka and it spares the beneficiaries from the hassle of commuting, enabling them to follow the courses on-line in the comfort of their own homes,” explains Ms. Gunaratne.

 

Reiterating that the Network on Disability is not a charity project but a realization of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to which Sri Lanka is a signatory, Ms.Gunaratne encouraged member companies to ‘give a chance to those with disabilities to prove that they are able’ in many ways.

 

Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

  1. Speech by Mr. Kanishka Weerasinghe

2. Participants.

3. Presentation by Manique Gunaratne

4. Presentation by Manique Gunaratne 2

5. Speech by Sonali De Silva

6. Manique and Kanishka Weerasinghe

Manique Gunaratne

Tel. – 0094112867966

EMPLOYERS’ NETWORK ON DISABILITY

The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon convened a meeting of the EFC Employers Network on Disability in August 2017 to appoint members to the committee that manages the Network and to re-constitute the committee based on feedback and the interest shown by members to be involved in the activities of the specialized Training and Disability Resource Centre managed by the Secretariat. The Network will work towards the following goals and objectives.

Goals

To enhance employment opportunities within the private sector for people with disabilities

Objects

  1. To develop awareness raising programs and promotes positive attitudes regarding persons with disabilities.
  2. To provide guidance on vocational training based on employer needs to organizations for people with disabilities.
  • To participate in policy making bodies related to employment of people with disabilities and to represent employer views on such matter.
  1. To facilitate the hiring of people with disabilities through placement services counselling and such like activities.
  2. To provide a forum to explore and respond to employers needs relating to managing disability at work place.
  3. To recognize and promote good practices regarding employment of people with disabilities.
  • To represent and lobby for employers issues related to managing disability at work places.
  • To under-take the training of disabled persons in employable skills.
  1. To raise funds for activities of the network.
  2. Work in collaboration with governmental and non-governmental agencies involved in disability related issues in furtherance of the goals of the Network.

All companies are invited to join the Network. For further details please contact Ms. Manique Gunaratne on 0112867966.

 

Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Welcome by Mr. Kanishka Weerasinghe.

2 Mr. Kanishka Weerasinghe and Ms. Manique Gunaratne at the head table.

3 Manique making presentation.

4 Manique explaining the activities of the Network.

5 Audience.

6 Ms. Sonali De Silva speaking.

 

Manique Gunaratne

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

 

SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT

SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT

 

Supported Employment is the new concept in placing persons with disabilities in gainful employment. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Network on Disability together with the other team members who were trained on Supported Employment in Northern Ireland conducted the training for MAS team at MAS Fabrics in March 2017.

 

Picture description for vision impaired persons:

2 Imalka making a presentation.

vhn

3 Manique making a presentation.

bh

4 Manique with the participants.

bn

 

Manique Gunaratne

Blog: http://efcnetworkondisability.employers.lk/

SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT TO SEE INCLUSION AND SEE THE GAPS

SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT TO SEE INCLUSION AND SEE THE GAPS

 

The Northern Ireland Union of Supported Employment (NIUSE) organized a series of training workshops and associated practitioner observation study visits in Belfast, Northern Ireland in November – December 2016 related to Supported Employment for individuals at disadvantage in accessing employment due to disability.

NIUSE is a non-governmental organisation promoting employment and vocational training opportunities for people with disabilities and people from other disadvantaged situations through the Supported Employment model. The Supported Employment model assists people with significant disabilities to access and stay in employment in the open labour market by providing individualised and on-going support. NIUSE is a membership based organisation representing persons with diverse disabilities organisations (physical, learning, mental health, sensory and hidden disabilities) from across Northern Ireland.

Along with attending the training workshops and associated practitioner observation study visits, and also to organise meetings and visits to a range of Supported Employment organisations as well as meeting with relevant Government Departments and agencies (i.e. Department for Communities, Department for Health, Social Services and Public Safety). NIUSE has also links with third level academic institutions, such as Queens University and the University of Ulster across a number of faculties if our organization would wish to form links.

In addition, NIUSE currently holds the Presidency of the European Union of Supported Employment (www.euse.org) through Margaret Haddock who is the Chair of NIUSE.

Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Network on Disability along with academics of University of Kelaniya, academics of University of Sri Jayawardanapura, Manager from Mas Holdings and Principal of the Naffeel School for the Deaf and Blind were trained in Supported Employment.

It was a great opportunity to meet with her and to further develop links with National Associations of Supported Employment across Europe for organisations and Sri Lanka.

Supported Employment will support the “See Inclusion see the gaps project.  SEE Inclusion SEE the Gaps is a ten-year project initiated by the Centre for Disability Studies, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya and the Coordinating Centre for Students with Disabilities at the University of Kelaniya to work towards bridging the gaps that give rise to barriers for individuals with disability to access education and employment. The gaps to inclusion often result from a lack of practical support frameworks and mechanisms for people with disabilities to gain active participation and equal opportunities for education and employment. The project SEE Inclusion SEE the Gaps will work to create partnerships to establish these frameworks and mechanisms and their practical application in Sri Lanka. It is a three-part project addressing the gaps in the constructs of self, education and employment at the levels of knowledge creation, dissemination, skill development and attitudinal ideologies.

University of Kelaniya organised a programme to thank all the stakeholders who supported the project and to discuss the importance of developing the carder of Supported Employment Officers at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute in February 2017.

 

Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Conference theme.

conference theme

2 Manique Gunaratne speaking at the panel.

manique speaking with a smile

3 Group photograph of the Supported Employment Officers.

supported employment team

Manique Gunaratne

SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT TO SEE INCLUSION AND SEE THE GAPS

The Northern Ireland Union of Supported Employment (NIUSE) organized a series of training workshops and associated practitioner observation study visits in Belfast, Northern Ireland in November – December 2016 related to Supported Employment for individuals at disadvantage in accessing employment due to disability.

NIUSE is a non-governmental organisation promoting employment and vocational training opportunities for people with disabilities and people from other disadvantaged situations through the Supported Employment model. The Supported Employment model assists people with significant disabilities to access and stay in employment in the open labour market by providing individualised and on-going support. NIUSE is a membership based organisation representing persons with diverse disabilities organisations (physical, learning, mental health, sensory and hidden disabilities) from across Northern Ireland.

Along with attending the training workshops and associated practitioner observation study visits, and also to organise meetings and visits to a range of Supported Employment organisations as well as meeting with relevant Government Departments and agencies (i.e. Department for Communities, Department for Health, Social Services and Public Safety). NIUSE has also links with third level academic institutions, such as Queens University and the University of Ulster across a number of faculties if our organization would wish to form links.

In addition, NIUSE currently holds the Presidency of the European Union of Supported Employment (www.euse.org) through Margaret Haddock who is the Chair of NIUSE.

Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Network on Disability along with academics of University of Kelaniya, academics of University of Sri Jayawardanapura, Manager from Mas Holdings and Principal of the Naffeel School for the Deaf and Blind were trained in Supported Employment.

It was a great opportunity to meet with her and to further develop links with National Associations of Supported Employment across Europe for organisations and Sri Lanka.

Supported Employment will support the “See Inclusion see the gaps project.  SEE Inclusion SEE the Gaps is a ten-year project initiated by the Centre for Disability Studies, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya and the Coordinating Centre for Students with Disabilities at the University of Kelaniya to work towards bridging the gaps that give rise to barriers for individuals with disability to access education and employment. The gaps to inclusion often result from a lack of practical support frameworks and mechanisms for people with disabilities to gain active participation and equal opportunities for education and employment. The project SEE Inclusion SEE the Gaps will work to create partnerships to establish these frameworks and mechanisms and their practical application in Sri Lanka. It is a three-part project addressing the gaps in the constructs of self, education and employment at the levels of knowledge creation, dissemination, skill development and attitudinal ideologies.

The Supported Employment training was conducted at the NICVA.

The study tours on supported employment covered several enterprises. The Acceptable Enterprise had persons with intellectual and learning disabilities working in packing. It also caters to air craft parts which persons with disabilities included in the work force.

The “Lunch Box” is the company which provides catering online where majority of the work force are persons with disabilities. All vegetables are grown in poly tunnels in the same premises.

Supported Employment, Clear Water company bottles clear water and sparkling water. Each water bottle manufactured has a note on the value of employing persons with disabilities and a bar code. The bar code can be googled and a description of the person with the disability who manufactured will be available online.

Study visit to Social and Therapeutic Horticulture garden was interesting. People with learning difficulties and mental illnesses are rehabilitated through therapeutic horticulture. The therapeutic hortical garden had herbal plants, plants which gives more oxygen and bird watching.

Advanced Engineering provides support employment for socially disadvantages groups such as people who addicted to drugs, people with depression etc. It provides many services such as manufacturing seats to London bus and London Metro, digital printing and many more.

Play Trail / Liberty Consortium assist people with physical and learning disabilities to transition from school to adulthood, vocational training and community involvement. Learning is done through eye and mind stimulating activities in the sensory garden. It also has an open theatre, bird watching area, fairy garden. Vegetables are grown in poly tunnels. Fertiliser for the vegetable cultivation is made in an aqua ponic system.

Cedar provides services to physical disability and traumatic brain injury and ASD Spectrum. The focus areas are transition from school to adulthood, vocational training, supported employment, government programmes and research and development.

During the study visit to Disability Action learned how supported employment is utilised for persons with physical, learning, mental health, sensory and hidden disabilities.

The most historical event was the launch of the “Supported Employment, SEE Inclusion see the gaps” project at the Stormont, the Parliament of Northern Ireland. Parliamentarian Mr. Robin Swann together with Northern Ireland Union of Supported Employment, European Union of Supported Employment and the Sri Lankan Supported Employment team launched “SEE inclusion see the gaps” project at the Stormont, Northern Ireland Parliament. Ms. Ianthee Perera from University of Kelaniya, Ms. Shyamini Hettiarachchi of University of Kelaniya, Ms. Thilanka Wijesinghe from University of Kelaniya, Ms. Imalka De Silva of MAS Holdings, Ms. Vasuki from Naffeel School for the Deaf and Blind and Ms. Manique Gunaratne from The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Network on Disability spoke at the Parliament. Sri Lankan delegates were taken on tour around the Parliament. Sri Lankan delegates got the opportunity to celebrate the first lighting of the Christmas tree and Christmas carols with the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Parliament.

The study visit to Royal National Institute for the Blind focused on vocational training and employment for vision impaired persons. Assistive devices specially designed for vision impaired persons were on display.

Expresso East Café is runned by Orchardville Society where persons with Learning disabilities and ASD Spectrum (Autism) are at work. The study visit with lunch was an excellent opportunity to change mind-set.

The study visit to Action for Hearing Loss gave the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience on vocational training and employment for deaf and hard of hearing persons.

Model in action with local employers were the significant feature of the study visit to Triangle Organisation.

The “Can Can” organization assists persons with learning disabilities in supported employment on social enterprise, recycling, up cycling, vocational training, social integration, interactions, best buddies and community engagement.

The study visit to Giants Causeway was an accessible tour especially for vision impaired persons. Persons with learning disabilities are at work on supported employment.

 

Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Day 1 of the training at NiCVA.

day-1-manique-with-participants

2 Day 2 of the training at NICVA Manique.

day-2-at-nicva-manique-with-participants

3 Day 2 of the training participants.

day-2-at-nicva-participants

4 A E L Enterprise cabins.

a-e-l-cabins

 

5 A E L Enterprise CEO explaining the process.

a-e-l-packing-david-explaining

6 A E L Enterprise employee of the year.

a-e-l-packing-employee-of-the-year

7 A E L Enterprise persons with disabilities at work.

a-e-l-packing

 

8 Lunch Box group photo.

lunch-box-group

 

9 The CEO explaining the poly tunnel concept.

poly-tunnel-david-explaining

10 Poly tunnel lettuce leaves.

poly-tunnel-letus-leaves

11 At the poly tunnel.

poly-tunnel-manique-david-imalka

12 Water bottle manufacturing.

water-bottle-filling

13 Manique drinking water.

water-bottle-manique-drinking

14 Explaning the horticulture garden.

horticulture-explaining

15 Kitchen of the therapeutic horticulture garden.

horticulture-garden-kitchen

16 Theraputic horticulture garden.

horticulture-garden

17 Green car of the garden.

horticulture-therapy-green-car

18 Digital printing.

advance-engineering-digital-printing

 

19 Group photograph.

rnib-group-photo

20 Picture of a deer.

advance-engineering-lacer-deer

21 Manufacturing bus seats.

advance-engineering-london-bus-seat

 

22 Play Trail aqua ponic system.

play-trail-aqua-ponic-system

23 Play Trail bird watching.

play-trail-bird-watching

24 Play Trail fairy tree.

play-trail-fairy-tree

25 Play Trail group photograph.

play-trail-group-photo

26 Play Trail out door theatre.

play-trail-out-door-theatre

27 Play Trail poly tunnel aqua ponic system.

play-trail-poly-tunnel-aqua-ponic

28 Play Trail sensory garden eye stimulating object.

play-trail-sensory-garden-eye-stimulation-object-1

29 Play Trail sensory garden eye stimulating object.

play-trail-sensory-garden-eye-stimulation-object-2

30 Play Trail sensory garden mind stimulating object.

play-trail-sensory-garden-mind-stimulation-object

31 Play Trail walk.

play-trail-walk

 

 

32 Manique using a smart pen.

centra-manique-with-smart-pen

33 Technology at Cendar.

centra-technology

34 Meeting at Disability Action.

disability-action-meeting

35 Stormont, Northern Ireland Parliament day view.

stormont-day-view

 

36 Manique with the President of European Union of Supported Employment.

stormont-e-u-president

37 Group photograph of the team inside the Parliament.

stormont-group-inside

38 Group photograph of the team outside the Parliament.

stormont-group-outside

39 Manique outside the Parliament.

stormont-manique-and-norman

40 Manique outside the Parliament after Christmas celebrations.

stormont-manique-at-paliament-outside

 

41 Manique near the Christmas tree.

stormont-manique-near-christmas-tree

42 Manique speaking at the Parliament.

stormont-manique-speaking

43 Manique near Speaker’s desk.

stormont-near-speakers-table

44 Stormont, Parliament at night.

stormont-night

 

45 Carpet leading to the Sennet.

stormont-northern-ireland-essembly-carpet

46 Sennet House.

stormont-sennet-house

47 Manique sitting at the Sennet.

stormont-sitting-at-parliament

48 Supported Employment team inside the Parliament.

stormont-group-inside

49 Group photograph with the Speaker of the Parliament.

stormont-with-speaker

50 Participants on day 3 at NICVA.

day-3-all-participants

 

51 Manique at the training on day 3 at NICVA.

day-3-manique-in-class

52 Participants on day 3 at NICVA.

day-3-participants

53 Group photograph on day 4 at NICVA.

day-4-group

 

54 Group photograph at RNIB.

rnib-group-photo

55 Manique with devices at RNIB.

rnib-with-devices

56 Group photograph at Orchardville Society.

orchardville-group-photo

 

57 Lunched prepared and served by persons with disabilities.

lunch-box-group

58 Group photograph at Action for Hearing Loss

action-for-hearing-loss-group-photo

59 At Triangle organization.

trangle-workshop

60 Can Can board.

can-can-board

61 Can Can up cycling furniture.

can-can-up-cycling-furniture-manique

62 Manique at Giants Causeway.

giants-causeway-manique

 

63 Giants Causeway mountains.

giants-causeway-mountains

64 Giants Causeway walking path.

giants-causeway-road-with-path

65 Giants Causeway rock.

giants-causeway-rock

66 Giants Causeway sea.

giants-causeway-sea

67 Giants Causeway road.

giants-causeway-with-the-road

 

Manique Gunaratne

Vice Chair Person – South Asian Disability Forum

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION CAREER DAY 2016

The MEDIA BRIEFING of DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION Career Day 2016 was organized by JCI (Junior Chamber International) Kollupitiya at Mahaweli Centre in October 2016. The discussion was on “why enable equal career opportunities for persons with disabilities”. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Network on Disability presented on “how to overcome challenges at work place”. Other speakers were Ishan Jalill, Disability Inclusion Specialist – International Foundation for Electoral Systems, Janitha Rukmal, – Enable Sri Lanka, Isuru Samarage, National President Sri Lanka – Junior Chamber International Sri Lanka (JCISL), Suranga Nanayakkara, Assistant Professor – Singapore University of Technology and Design and Dillon Abraham, JCI Kollupitiya Chapter. This was an opportunity to learn how young people around the world are working to create positive change.

The following newspapers published the press briefing.

http://www.lankabusinessnews.com/index.php/other/miscellaneous/item/5194-first-private-sector-job-fair-for-persons-with-disabilities-in-sri-lanka

http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=154430

http://dailynews.lk/2016/11/01/features/97591

 

Picture descriptions for vision  impaired persons:

1 Manique presenting.

manique-talking

2 Pannalists.

pannel

 

Manique Gunaratne

Face time: 0094779571918