Category Archives: Information and Communication Technology for Persons with Disabilities

ENGLISH LANGUAGE COMMUNICATION SKILLS FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

More people around the world than ever before are studying and learning English because it has become the international language of education and business. In Sri Lanka the knowledge of English Language Communication Skills among persons with disabilities are very low. Therefore, it is very difficult to place persons with disabilities in employment in the private sector. Our aim is to promote learning and support education and professional development for people with diverse disabilities. We work hard to help learners pursue their dreams of higher education or getting a good job in English-speaking environments. The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre started a course of study in English Language Communication Skills for 15 persons with diverse (vision impaired, low vision, hearing impaired, hard of hearing, speech difficulties and persons with physical disabilities) disabilities. The trainings will be conducted by a team from the British Welfare Group, Ms. Manique Gunaratne and Ms. Ayasana Gunasekera. The trainees will be trained in conversational ability utilizing the four skills — listening, speaking, reading and writing according to an international syllabus.

 

Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Participants.

2 Resource persons.

 

 

Manique Gunaratne

Mobile – 0094779571918

AWARDS CEREMONY 2011

In December 2011 Certificates were awarded to 30 trainees of the I.C.t. training centre of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon. The function was held at Hotel Ceylon Continental. The Chief Guests were the Minster of Labour relations and man power and the Minister of Home affairs. After awarding the certificates there was a job fair. This training centre was started in August 2009. “Derana” TV channel, MTV TV channel and “Sirasa” TV channel showed this occasion in their news bulletin. The “Daily Mirror”, “Daily News”, “Daily FT”, “Sunday Times” and “Divayina” news papers carried articles about the training centre.

 

Manique Gunaratne

Tel. – 0094117801801

ACCESSIBILITY & ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGIES FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

LIRNEasia, a not for profit think tank has been conducting research on inclusion across theAsia Pacific. Lirneasia have conducted quantitative and qualitative research on disability accessand facilitated the development of mobile apps for inclusion.

Lirneasia organized a forum in August 2018 to discuss how ICTs facilitate independent living forpeople with disabilities and well as current gaps in assistive technologies in Sri Lanka. Dinesh Kaushal from India facilitated the meeting and shared his ideas and answered relevant questions on assistive technologies.

Dinesh is an internationally known developer with over 14 years of experience in designingand developing screen readers for vision impaired persons. Ms. Manique Gunaratne from The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon joined the discussion on how to move forward with this concept.

 

Manique Gunaratne

Member – Asia Pacific Women with Disability United

 

 

 

 

A GROUP OF PERSONS WITH DIVERSE DISABILITIES SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETES A COURSE OF STUDY IN MICROSOFT WORD

Since its inception in 1999, the Network on Disability of the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) has taken strides, notably in the fields of ICT training, language and skills training and economic empowerment. The ICT Training Centre of the EFC which was launched in 2009 with the support of the International Labour Organization (ILO) is the nucleus of the Network on Disability.  Embracing the vision of ‘productive employment through social harmony’, its objective is to develop the employability skills of persons with diverse disabilities in the country.

Under the guidance of Ms. Manique Gunaratne, it has benefited more than200 persons with diverse disabilities to date including school leavers, job seekers, undergraduates and those employed from all corners of the Island.

The Training Centre fully equipped with devices specially designed for persons with disabilities and other software, also collaborates with Curtin University of Technology in Australia and SLIIT (Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology) Malabe. The programs are also recognized by the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC) and within the EFC membership which consists of 640 companies.

The ICT Training Centre receiving the CISCO Academy status in 2014 is the latest feather in its cap. This is a milestone of the ICT Training Centre as it is the only training centre in the country which trains people with diverse disabilities in CISCO courses. CISCO is a globally recognized IT qualification.

A group of 4 persons with diverse disabilities (vision impaired, partially sighted, slow learners and physical disabilities) successfully completed a course of study in Microsoft Word in July 2018 at the ICT Training & Disability Resource Centre of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon. Up to date 95 persons with disabilities have successfully completed a course of study in Microsoft Word.

 

Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Group photograph.

2 Manique conducting a session.

 

Manique Gunaratne

Advisory Board – CENWOR Employment for Women with Disabilities Project

ACCESSIBILITY & ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGIES FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

LIRNEasia, a not for profit think tank has been conducting research on inclusion across the

Asia Pacific. Lirneasia have conducted quantitative and qualitative research on disability access

and facilitated the development of mobile apps for inclusion.

Lirneasia organized a forum in August 2018 to discuss how ICTs facilitate independent living for

people with disabilities and well as current gaps in assistive technologies in Sri Lanka. Dinesh Kaushal from India facilitated the meeting and shared his ideas and answered relevant questions on assistive technologies.

Dinesh is an internationally known developer with over 14 years of experience in designing

and developing screen readers for vision impaired persons. Ms. Manique Gunaratne from The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon joined the discussion on how to move forward with this concept.

 

Manique Gunaratne

Member – Asia Pacific Women with Disability United

SOFT SKILLS FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

A group of 13 persons with diverse disabilities (vision impaired, partially sighted, hearing impaired, physical disabilities, slow learners and persons with speech difficulties) successfully completed a course of study in Soft Skills at The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre in August 2018. In order to secure employment in the private sector it is very important to develop the soft skills of persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities were trained in:

Motivational Session:

Who am I and what gifts do I bring.

Why am I following this course?

Sharing expectations.

Where am I now and where do I want to be at the end of the course.

Team building and the power of a Team.

Independence and control of my future.

The value of Time and managing it.

What are the different areas of our life and how do we balance it.

What is the Corporate World or what the world of work that I am in is or that I want to be in.

Personal Grooming and Etiquette

From hygiene matters through to Fashion in terms of personal Grooming

Basic etiquette

Handshake through to making conversation at business meetings and table manners

First Impressions and lasting impressions

Workplace Etiquette

What to do and what not to do at the work place and understanding the culture of the work

Place

Developing inter-personal skills, how to get along with others

Interpersonal Communication

The use of our voice to create the desired impression and questions to ascertain correct

Understanding.

Telephone etiquette – Communicating on the phone

Building Confidence

Making presentations and speeches, expressing one’s opinion at meetings

Body language

It is important as persons with disabilities may not understand the importance of posture,

Gestures, use of space etc.

Voice for effective communication

How to vary volume, Tone, Rate of Speech, Quality of voice, according to the context

Subjects of conversation appropriate for different situations

Structuring communication

The main areas of communication and how to

Structure their communication

Practical experience of table manners, office environment and hotel environment through a field visits to an office and a five star hotel.

Counselling.

Practical session on interview skills.

The resource persons were Mr. Dhananjaya Jayakody, Ms. Erosha Fernando, Mr. Rimaz Rizwie, Ms. Shamala Dulanjali, Ms. Rochelle Wandort, Ms. Sonali De Silva, Ms. Sewwandi Jayatunge, Mr. Udaya Ratnayake, Ms. Isuru Perera, Dr. Chandrathilake, Ms. Yashoravi Bakmeewewa, Mr. Suranga Samarasinghe, Mr. Pradeep Gunaratne, Mr. Chamith Jayasanka, Ms. Manique Gunaratne and Ms. Ayasana Gunasekera.

The Soft Skills training was conducted with the support of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Nestle Lanka, Diesel & Motor Engineering PLC, Sri Lankan Catering, Avery Denison Lanka, Jetwing Blue Hotel and National Institute of Mental Health.

 

Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Dhananjaya conducting the session.

2 Participants.

3 Resource persons conducting the personal grooming session.

4 Teaching to ware saree.

5 Training table etiquettes.

6 Participants.

7 Sonali conducting the session.

8 Manique speaking.

9 Sewwandi conducting the session.

10 Participants enjoying a vedio.

11 Udaya conducting the session.

12 Sign language interpretation.

13 Isuru conducting the session.

14 Group of trainees.

15 Dr. Chandrathilake conducting the session.

16 Dr. Chandrathilake, Manique and Piyalatha.

17 Yashoravi conducting the session.

18 Group of trainees.

19 Dining ettiquets training.

20 Group photograph.

21 Pradeep conducting the session.

22 Participants.

23 Manique presenting.

24 Group photograph.

Manique Gunaratne

Resource Person – Beyond the Reach Project of Internet Society Sri Lanka Chapter

 

 

FINGER READER

Singapore University of Technology & Design, University of Moratuwa, Dialog and The Emplloyers’ Federation of Ceylon ICT Training & Disability Resource Centre developed the Finger Reader device. Vision impaired ICT trainees of The Employerss’ Federation of Ceylon assisted to further develop this app with their valuable inputs for the research. The research was done in April and May 2018 at the EFC.

FingerReader aims to create an assistive device that sustainably change how the visually impaired community can independently access information on the go. Accessing visual information in a mobile context is a major challenge for the blind.

Designed and developed by the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), the FingerReader empowers the communities who would otherwise have no access to assistive technology because they were either too expensive or did not fulfill the user expectations.

Engagements with blind people reveal numerous difficulties with existing state-of-the-art technologies including problems with accuracy, mobility, efficiency, cost, and more importantly social exclusion. The design of FingerReader address these challenges as it is a finger-worn accessory that allows users to simply point at products, restaurant menus, signs etc. to perform a recognition and interpretation task on what the FingerReader sees and hear the result spoken to him or her through a headset.

Dialog joined hands with SUTD to deploy FingerReader devices in Sri Lanka to support Sri Lanka’s visually impaired community.

The expert team members are Prof. Suranga Nanayakkara, Mr. Roger Boldu and Mr. Haimo Zhang.

 

Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Manique speaking.

2 Manique with Tharaka and Peniel from University of Moratuwa.

3 Vision impaired trainees doing the research.

4 Research team from University of Moratuwa and EFC trainees.

5 Tharidu with the supporting team from Dialog.

Manique Gunaratne

Executive Committee Member – Disability Organisations’ Joint Front

SOFT SKILLS FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

The cultural norms prevailing in Asia put persons with disabilities at a disadvantage by placing them in a subordinate position in society. Persons with disabilities in Asia are constantly taught to be subservient. They are taught only to listen and not speak up. The lack of self-confidence leaves them with hunched shoulders, unable to stand tall and to make their voices heard. In such a society, the situation of these people are worse and they are often more timid and backward than their counterparts of persons with non-disabilities.

Of late, Sri Lankan persons with disabilities have shown a tendency of combating outdated cultural norms and securing their rightful place in society. They have gathered the strength to pursue their ambitions. The number of career men and women has increased considerably in the recent past.  However, the same cannot be said of persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities have difficulty in finding employment or setting up one’s own business. This is not purely due to the lack of hard skills or educational qualifications. Even if a person with a disability possesses the requisite qualifications and intellect for a particular profession, they fail because they lack the personality traits that employers and clients look for.

Modern day employers specifically look for candidates who possess soft skills such as interpersonal skills, presentation skills, etiquettes, adequate grooming, team spirit, right attitude, flexibility, appropriate dressing sense and presentability, presence of mind, time management, work ethics, personal hygiene, listening skills, communication skills, street smartness and common sense. Research has shown that in this competitive era, mere hard skills do not make a person employable and enable that person to sustain in the professional life. Unfortunately, most persons with disabilities are unable to acquire the skills which are required for personality development due to their impediment. People with non-disabilities follow visual cues and learn from others or join a finishing school. People with disabilities are unable to join mainstream finishing schools as most schools do not offer individualized lessons nor can they learn through observation. It is expected that the personality development programme specially designed to cater to the needs of this marginalized group of people with diverse disabilities will give them the ability to project themselves better and create an impression on others and eventually find a sustainable income.

The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre started a course of study in Soft Skills for persons with diverse disabilities in March 2018. 15 persons with diverse disabilities (vision impaired, hearing impaired, partially sighted, physical disabilities, wheel chair users and slow learners) will be trained in Soft Skills.

 

Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Dhananjaya Jayakody conducting the training.

2 Sign language interpretation.

3 Participants.

Manique Gunaratne

FaceBook – Manique Gunaratne

BEYOND THE REACH IN KANDY

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 persons with disabilities on “Surfing the internet”.

This project is designed to make life easy for persons with disabilities 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 900,000 believed to be vision impaired due to various reasons. 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 persons with diverse disabilities. Therefore, the web developers will be trained by giving them the training to improve accessibility of persons with diverse disabilities. On the other hand by installing kiosaks with supporting tools for persons with disabilities in government institutions such as public libraries and vidiatha centers will enable to access them government information websites easily. For example if someone want to get birth certificate by accessing government web site  where it does not contain support forpersons with disabilities, 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” for Central province was conducted at the National Institute for Corporate Development (NICD) in Polgolla in April 2018, with the support of Ms. Sagarika Wickramasekera- President Internet Society Sri Lanka Chapter and Mr. Maheeswara Kirindigoda – Secretary Internet Society Sri Lanka Chapter. The Training was conducted by Ms. Manique Gunaratne with the support of Ms. Ayasana Gunasekera. A group of 13 persons with diverse disabilities 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. The “Beyond the Reach” programmes were done in Uva Province and Western province as well.

 

Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Participants on day 1.

2 Group photo on day 2.

3 Manique conducting the session on day 2.

4 Group photo on day 3.

 

5 Manique conducting the session on day 3.

6 Participants on day 3.

7 Maheeswara speaking to the participants.

8 Manique presenting.

9 Sagarika conducting the session.

Manique Gunaratne

E-mail – maniqueg@empfed.lk     manique.g@gmail.com

 

 

ILO GLOBAL BUSINESS DISABILITY NETWORK GIVES PUBLICITY FOR EFC EMPLOYERS’ NETWORK ON DISABILITY

Read the article:

Employers’ Federation of Ceylon’s Network on Disability celebrates ICT Graduation

“When we talk of sustainable enterprises, we need to assure that no one in society is left behind. The Employers’ Network on Disability of the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) – which champions this notion was set up way back in 1999 – is a reflection of the foresight of my predecessors of the requirements in the ever-evolving world of work,” observed the Director General of the EFC, Kanishka Weerasinghe.

Manique Gunaratne

Mobile – 0094779571918