Category Archives: I L O LEED Project

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

 

ManiqueGunaratne

Executive Committee Member – Disability Organisations’ Joint Front

THREE WHEELER MODIFICATIONS FOR DRIVERS WITH DISABILITIES

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

ManiqueGunaratne

Vice Chair Person – South Asian Disability Forum

THE EMPLOYERS’ FEDERATION OF CEYLON INCLUDES PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES AT THE WORKSHOP ON “COMMUNITY MEANS EVERYONE”

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

 

By:

ManiqueGunaratne

Founder Members Team – South Asian Women with Disabilities Network

THE EMPLOYERS’ FEDERATION OF CEYLON ASSISTS DRIVERS WITH DISABILITIES TO MODIFY THEIR VEHICLES

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

By:

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

THE EMPLOYERS’ FEDERATION OF CEYLON SUPPORTS SMALL BUSINESS HOLDERS WITH DISABILITIES

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

 

By:

ManiqueGunaratne

Face time: 0094779571918

FOSTERING FAMILY ENGAGEMENT FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN MANNAR DISTRICT

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

By:

ManiqueGunaratne

Whats up: 0094779571918

 

THE EMPLOYERS’ FEDERATION OF CEYLON LEED PROJECT TEAM MAKES PRESENTATION AT AN INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP By Manique Gunaratne

The Lenard Cheshire Disability Resource Centre organized an international workshop for participants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Philippine and Sri Lanka on “Disability” at Golden Star Hotel in Negombo In October 2014. The EFC LEED Project team members, Tanya Warnakulasuriya, Manique Gunaratne and Vasana Wijesinghe attended this workshop and a made a presentation on “Employment for persons with disabilities”. The team explained the activities of the Network on Disability and the best practices with case studies.

 

Manique’s Experience in the Workshops

Lot of hard work, preparations, team work and long journey turned into laughter and smiles of everyone after we concluded the workshops for persons with disabilities, their families and the community in Mulativu and Kilinochchi districts.

The journey began on 17th January to Kilinochchi with the I.L.O. LEED project team members. Though it was a long journey we did not feel the time because all of us were coming up with jokes, funny things in life and own life experiences of Tanya, Manique, Vasana and Beulah. Happy bunch of ladies reached Kilinochchi in the evening. Late evening was exciting too. Ladies got together in one room and prepared the training materials in an enjoyable way. The secret of the success of the workshop was the team work with the maximum enthusiasm.

All four workshops were with a lot of experiences. Workshops were conducted with Tamil translations. There were PowerPoint presentations, activities and role plays by the resource persons. Persons with disabilities shared their experiences as well as their families and the community working with them. Employers too shared their experiences in employing persons with disabilities. E.F.C. Network on Disability, Importance of doing a job, Interview skills, writing CV’s, work environment, experience of parents of  disabled employee about the impact of having their child earning, supporting the family and being a successful citizen in society, Disability Barriers showing how families can be a barrier to persons with disabilities even though they have good intentions at heart and changing mind set are the key areas covered in the workshops for persons with disabilities and their families which had a very good impact on promoting employment with dignity.

Disability etiquettes, Barriers persons with disabilities face in the society, Expectations of a person with a disability of what they expect from the society and role plays on changing mind set in the programmes for the community touched the hearts of the participants. “Nothing about us without us” and inclusion were the most powerful thoughts when doing a workshop relating to disabilities. The emotions, the way persons with disabilities shared their experiences were very effective to send the message across to everyone.

The participants got the opportunity of a new experience by committing themselves to few key areas on disability by signing the pledge. All participants with smiling faces holding the pledge stood together and showed their commitment.

The LEED team did a field visit to MAS Factory in Kilinochchi to identify areas where persons with disabilities can be included in their work force. It was a really good experience for me.

The team returned to Colombo on 22 January with new ideas on how to improve the quality of the workshops to do them in other districts in the future.

Bloggers Diary : Changing Mindsets on Disability in the Mulativu Districts ( 2 days)

As we start our 6 hour trek up to Kilinochchi, I can’t help but feel a little daunted about doing four workshops to just under 100 people back to back. The EFC team had done one or two days each trip but never four. I hoped my voice would hold out. With the newly made roads and the great company of my team members Vasana and Manique, and later from Vavuniya Beulah, the journey flew by.

Dinner at our hotel was a little disappointing. I was hoping to order my one of my favorite tamil dishes, Rasam, the spicy soup made from coriander and tamarind, but sadly it was not on the menu. Never mind, tomorrow maybe. After dinner, we piled into Vasana’s room and set to work finishing off the training files for tomorrow’s sessions. Then it was off to bed for an early start to Mulativu

Date: 18th 2015

My previous memories of being in the North have always been of unbearably hot days. Dry searing heat – very different to the clammy moist conditions in Colombo. This trip though was very different. The mornings were positively chilly. As we travelled to Mulativu, we could see the cool morning mists rising from the paddy fields. No A/c on in the van this morning thank you!

The DS office that had so kindly offered to provide us space for the workshop was a smart newly built office. We were a little early ( it was 8am on a Sunday after all) so after a quick breakfast ( sadly no Rasam again), we were ushered to the conference room , a massive space with a fully mic’d conference table to seat 25 participants and more space should we need it.

Actually we did need it. Although we had 25 confirmed participants attending, 45 actually showed up. They just kept coming and coming and coming !

Today’s workshop was for persons with disabilities and their families. We decided to do this workshop because from our experience in working in the Northern Province. Many times when we had placed a disabled person in a good job we would find other family members preventing them from coming to work for various reasons. Sometimes it would be safety concerns. Other times family members would be giving poor advice to the disabled employee, asking them to demand more money, or insisting they request unreasonable amounts of leave continually. We wanted to show families how they can empower their disabled family member and help them to become an empowered and contributing member of the community.

The crowd were initially a little skeptical about the EFC. There is still a very strong dependency culture in these areas, with people preferring to accept handouts rather than go to work. One person actually wrote in their evaluation form, “Would have been nice if we got more money for coming”. We pay a travel allowance of Rs 1000 per family who attend. Add to this lunch and tea breaks and its pretty clear some people see this as a nice day out, rather than a place to learn something new.

One of the most touching moments in the workshop was when a young lady from Taprobane Fisheries who is physically disabled ( she is missing her right hand), broke down in tears speaking about how getting the job at Taprobane has changed her life. She spoke of how her family had never really given her much respect when she lost her hand, and she was excluded from many family decisions and activities. Her family also discouraged her from going for the job saying, she would not be able to work and she should just remain at home. In tears she told us how she now earns more money than any of her family and how her mother came to ask her for money for her sisters operation. Her story made a huge impact on the other participants.

In the family sessions we worked on changing attitudes and mindset around disabilities and also looked at the practical processes around getting a job, like how to write a CV, how to perform at an interview and what the work environment is like.

Date: 19th Jan 2015

Day 2 of the workshop sessions and we are again in PTK in the Mulativu District. This time the session is for District Service officers and other members of the community and how to change mindsets and attitudes towards persons with disabilities.

Manique did an excellent session on Disability Etiquette, the practical do’s and don’ts of how to interact with persons with disabilities. She went through practical things like how to introduce yourself to a blind, deaf physical impaired and learning impaired person. She showed the group how to lead a blind person. How to attract the attention of a deaf person and what the politically correct terms were when talking about persons with disabilities.

We were keen to use the lovely big space we had at the DS Office, so on the spur of the moment, we decided that the sessions on the Models of Disability should be very interactive. First we explained each of the models:

The Traditional Model is where society thinks a person is cursed or has sinned and that is why they are disabled. In many traditional communities people are cast out or shut away just forbeing disabled.

As civilizations developed, traditional attitudes changed and the medical model was born but this also saw persons with disabilities as “not normal” and felt that such people could not function in everyday life so had to be put in “special schools and homes” away from society.

The Social Model was developed as part of the Disability Rights Movement which started in the 70’s. Here disabled persons claimed their place in society as human beings with rights. They stated that if they did not have reasonable access to the same facilities as the rest of a community, access to education, healthcare, job opportunities, etc, then the problem lay not with the person but with the society itself.

Once we’d explained these, the team thoroughly embarrassed themselves, by performing a small play. The first showed Vasana, as a new mother nursing her new baby which had a disability. We used a handbag as the baby! Manique and I were her friends coming to visit her and her new baby. When she eard the knock on the door, she hides the baby and tells us she had a miscarriage. She does not show us the child even though we insist we saw her with it. When we leave we don’t believe her and we assume there is something “wrong” with the child. We say she has been punished by God for having too many boyfriends when she was young.

[Pic to be inserted here from Maniques batch]

We then asked the participants to identity which model we were acting out and then to perform a play showing how the characters would act in the social model.

The second play we performed showed the medical model. I played a doctor in his surgery and Vasana was a worried mother with her child who was being disruptive I at school. After examining the naughty girl ( played by Manique – who was actually very naughty – she threw the table cloth over my head and jiggled about in chair so much I thought she’d fall off ! It was an Oscar-winning performance!), I concluded that she was learning impaired and that she should be removed from school and put in a special school for her kind. I also told the mother to sterilize herself this was a genetic condition and as she should have no more children or they would be the same.

[Pic to be inserted here from Maniques batch]

Again we asked the group to identify the model and carry out the same scenario applying the social model. Again we got some award winning performances from participants and the laughter and involvement from the whole group made this way of learning far more engaging than a boring PowerPoint lecture.

Many of the group said afterwards, they had never been to such a workshop and performing the plays really helped them understand how attitudes can be changed in society in very practical real life ways. That’s a good result I think!