Category Archives: Information and Communication Technology for Persons with Disabilities

DISRUPT ASIA 2017 CONFERENCE INCLUDES PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

ICTA (Information & Communication Technology Agency) organised Sri Lanka’s Premier Startup Conference and Expo, Disrupt Asia 2017 at Hilton Colombo in July 2017. This was the largest gathering of the startup ecosystem of Sri Lanka.

Gender diversity is not merely an opportunity for women but creates opportunity on a larger scale for companies, the tech industry, and the economy. Here are three major areas that are impacted by gender diversity. Revenue and profitability, meeting workforce needs, economic fairness.

According to research tech space is the only one where the participation of women has decreased in the last 20 years globally. Low levels of female employment and leadership in tech should signal alarm bells, and not just for women. Gender diversity is increasingly becoming an economic argument, not merely an ethical one. So why does gender diversity even matter, anyway? What’s wrong with having a 70% male dominated profession?

Apart from gender another overlooked point would be the employability of persons with disability, How can we make a better environment where everyone is treated in a similar manner?

“Diversity In Tech: How Well Are We Doing?” panel was moderated by Zahra Cader – Senior Manager – PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Other Panelists were:

Nayeni Fernando – Former IT head of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka

Hiranya Fernando – CEO – Careerly Networks

Yusra Aziz Eliyas – Founder – Podi Jobs

Manique Gunaratne – Manager – Specialized Training and Disability Resource Centre of the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon.

 

Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 All pannalists.

2 Closeup of Manique presenting.

 

3 Manique presenting.

4 Screen and the participants.

Manique Gunaratne

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

 

EFC ASSISTS UNIVERSITY STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

University of Kelaniya together with The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Disability Resource Centre developed a strategic plan to promote ICT training, awareness on technology and facilities to be provided for students with disabilities. Students with disabilities, Lecturers and relevant authorities were involved in this process. As a start of this process, Ms. Manique Gunaratne donated a Braille slate, stylus and Braille papers to a vision impaired student.

 

Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Manique presenting.

2 Manique with the participants.

Manique Gunaratne

FaceBook – Manique Gunaratne

 

CURTIN UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY SUPPORTS EFC ICT TRAINING CENTRE

The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon ICT Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities is the only Cisco Academy in Sri Lanka for persons with diverse disabilities. Dr. Iain Murrey, Course Coordinator of Curtin University of Technology in Australia has been supporting the ICT Training Centre since its inception in 2009 especially for the Cisco courses conducted at EFC. Dr. Iain Murrey had a discussion with Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon in June 2017 to promote more opportunities for persons with disabilities.

 

Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

Manique and Iain at the Training Centre

 

Manique Gunaratne

Skype – manique.g

 

SRI LANKA BROADCASTING CORPORATION GIVES PUBLICITY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Network on Disability and Ms. Sagarika Wickramasekara, President, Internet Society spoke on “Digital accessibility for persons with disabilities” at the programme titled “Anduren eliyata” at the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation in July 2017.

 

Picture description for vision impaired persons:

Manique Gunaratne, Sagarika Wickramasekara and Sujeewa Manage recording the programme.

Audio:

 

 

Manique Gunaratne

Web: www.employers.lk

 

EFC TRAINS PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN COMPUTER CONCEPTS

Since its inception in 2000, 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 making special considerations for women and girls with disabilities as well.

Under the adept guidance of Ms. Manique Gunaratne, Manager – Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre, it has benefited more than 200 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 and software specially designed for persons with disabilities, 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 650 plus 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.

Recently up-graded EFC ICT Training & Disability Resource Centre with accessibility and modern technology assist persons with disabilities to receive the latest technology available and to be gainfully employed equally capable as persons with non-disabilities.

The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon ICT Training and Disability Resource Centre started a course of study in Computer Concepts for a group of 15 persons with diverse disabilities in May 2017. Up to date EFC has trained 93 persons with disabilities in Computer Concepts.

 

Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Manique conducting training.

2 Group photograph.

Manique Gunaratne

Tel. – 0094112867966

 

EFC trains persons with disabilities in Microsoft word

The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon ICT Training & Disability Resource Centre started a course of study in Microsoft Word for a group of persons with diverse disabilities in February 2017. Up to date EFC has trained 175 persons with disabilities in Microsoft Word by Ms. Manique Gunaratne. The new batch of 10 trainees will receive training at the newly up graded EFC ICT Training Centre with the latest technology, software and assistive devices.

 

Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Participants at the training center.

2 Manique conducting training.

 

Manique Gunaratne

The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon,

385 J3 Old Kotte Road,

Rajagiriya,

Sri Lanka.

 

Women internet governance forum includes women with disabilities

Internet Society of Sri Lanka (ISoC Sri Lanka) Chapter conducted the first ever Women Internet Governance Forum (Women IGF) in Sri Lanka as a local event at the BMICH in May 2017.

Today, the representation of women in IT sector has been increased almost equal to the men. Even-though there are both pros and cons being a woman techie. It’s the time to talk about this topic and especially problems, difficulties and obstacles when women are reaching up to higher levels in IT industry.

Women Internet Governance Forum (Women IGF) is the platform where to raise the voice of the women of their concerns, look for answers and get the attention of the community in this regard. This initiative will move with the “Global women in IT” and “Sri Lanka National Internet Governance Forum 2017”. This was a group discussion up to 30 participants from different key areas of the society.

Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, ICT Training & Disability Resource Centre did a presentation on “women with disabilities leading in the ICT field”.

The Women IGF 2017 session conducted dialogues on four topics below. The topics involved various distinguish women representatives from different areas.

Why should internet governance include consideration of gender issues?

The Internet is a feminist issue (feminists’ roles in shaping Internet policy).

Role of women in internet Governance.

Women’s voices in the public sphere.

 

Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Manique receiving a token of appreciation.

2 Group photograph.

3 Manique at the head table.

4 Manique

5 Manique making presentation.

6 Manique addressing the gathering.

 

Manique Gunaratne

CISCO International Trainer for I T E (Information Technology Essentials)

 

Internet governance forum includes persons with disabilities

Internet Society Sri Lanka Chapter is a front runner in Sri Lankan Internet Arena from its establishment from the year of 2010. They have conducted many Internet related events, forums, and projects to uplift the standards of living of the people of the Country.

Accessibility is one of core areas that we concern in the path to the Next Billionth User. The issues of under connected and unconnected we found that community with disability a hidden area of interest of many activities in the Internet arena. So the Accessibility for the Internet for All is being one of the major topics on ISOC Sri Lanka’s agenda.

Internet Society Sri Lanka Chapter together with The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon ICT Training & Disability Resource Centre organized the “Digital Accessibility Forum” at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in May 2017 at the BMICH.

The key note speech was delivered by Ministry of Digital and Telecommunication Infrastructure. Ms. Manique Gunaratne did the presentation on “how to make web sites accessible for persons with disabilities”. The role of web developers was presented by The Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT). Mobitel spoke on the role of internet service providers and Commercial Bank spoke on Digital Banking for persons with disabilities.

 

Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Manique making a presentation.

2 Sign language interpretation by Chammi.

3 Manique lighting the oil lamp.

4 Manique presenting.

5 With The Participants.

 

6 Speakers at the head table with banner.

 

Manique Gunaratne

Executive Committee Member – Disability Organisations’ Joint Front

 

DIGITAL ACCESSIBILITY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

DIGITAL ACCESSIBILITY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

 

The Internet Society Sri Lanka Chapter together Internet Society Asia Pacific Region organized the “Digital Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities” at Cinnamon Grand Hotel in March 2017.

Internet Society Sri Lanka Chapter is a front runner in Sri Lankan Internet Arena from its establishment from the year of 2010. ISOC has conducted many Internet related events, forums, and projects to uplift the standards of living of the people of the Country.

Accessibility is one of core areas that ISOC is concerned in the path to the Next Billionth User. The issues of under connected and unconnected ISOC found that community with disability a hidden area of interest of many activities in the Internet arena. So the Accessibility for the Internet for All is being one of the major topics on ISOC Sri Lanka’s agenda.

During the past ISOC reached persons with disabilities carrying trainings and the attempt is highly appreciated all around the globe. Thus ISOC APAC invited the Sri Lanka Chapter to jointly organise “Accessibility Sri Lanka 2017 “with following objectives.

  • Built capacity of developer’s community on needs and requirements of persons with disabilities.
  • Built capacity of developer’s community on approaches and design practices that would make their services and products accessible.
  • Invite persons with disabilities to speak and share on their accessibility challenges.  Share  best  practices  learned  from  experiences  of  the  local  stake holders  including persons with disabilities.
  • Hear  from  local  stakeholders  including  government  on  their  current  familiarity  and approaches on digital accessibility.
  • Strengthen cooperation and enhance partnerships among organizations working to address common challenges of digital accessibility.
  • Recommend approaches for strengthening policies, institutions and actions.

It was a one day program with two mini-events covered during the day.

The first half of the day was a technical workshop on accessibility, bringing in developer’s community and persons with disabilities for a face-to-face interaction and Accessibility guidelines and design principles (with practical demonstrations / Videos). President of Internet Society Sri Lanka Chapter, Ms. Sagarika Wickramasekara and Director of Asia Pacific Internet Society, Mr. Naveed made presentations. Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon ICT Training and Disability Resource Centre conducted the training on “Difficulties faced by persons with disabilities with solutions and design considerations and international standards when surfing the internet”.

The second half of the day was a multi-stakeholders dialogue on digital accessibility issues and solutions.

Discussions were on Technology Issues faced by persons with disabilities including results of 100 top local websites accessibility assessment.

The panelists were Secretary to Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Mr. Wasantha Deshapriya, Mr. Harsha Wijewardane from University of Colombo, Director of Internet Society Asia Pacific Region Mr. Naveed, President Internet Society Sri Lanka Chapter Ms. Sagarika Wickramasekara, Secretary of Internet Society Mr. Maheeswara Kirindigoda, Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon ICT Training and Disability Resource Centre, Major Manjula De Silva from the Sri Lanka Army and Mr. Isuru Sampath.

 

Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Participants at the evening session.

2 Group photograph of the morning session.

3 Internet for all banner.

4 Manique with the pannalists at the head table.

5 Manique making a presentation in the morning session.

6 Manique Sagarika and Naveed preparing the programme on the previous day.

7 Manique speaking at the evening session.

8 Manique with the participants.

9 Participants in the morning session.

10 Naveed presenting.

11 Sagarika presenting.

12 Wasantha Deshapriya speaking.

 

Manique Gunaratne

Council Member – Cisco Networking Academy Council

TALENTS OF SANDARUWAN

TALENTS OF SANDARUWAN

 

Sandaruwan Piyawansa is an ICT trainee of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon ICT Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities. Apart from his ICT skills he has a born talent to do portraits. Everyone visiting the ICT Training Centre gives good recommendations about his talents by seeing the picture drawn by him of Manique Gunaratne which has been kept at the centre.  Sandaruwan is a wheel chair user due to a spinal cord injury. If anyone wishes to draw a picture of you please contact Sandaruwan Piyawansa on 0778528189.

 

Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

Portrait of Manique by Sandaruwan.

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Manique Gunaratne

E-mail – manique.g@gmail.com    efc.ict.vip@gmail.com