Category Archives: Information and Communication Technology for Persons with Disabilities


EFC ICT trainees receive scholarships for university education


The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon awarded two scholarships for two vision impaired university students. Mr. AnushaDissanayake from University of Peradeniya and Ms. RasikaRatnayake from University of Colombo were selected for this scholarship. These two vision  impaired persons are following the ICT training at The Employers’ Federation of  Ceylon, ICT Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities under the leadership  of Ms. ManiqueGunaratne. The scholarships were sponsored by CIC Educational & Charitable Trust. A total sum of Rs. 36,000 was awarded to these two students. The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon wishes them all the success for their studies.


Picture descriptions:

1 Awarding the scholarship to Mr. AnushaDisanayake by Ms. ManiqueGunaratne

awarding the scholarship to anusha

2 Awarding the scholarship to Ms. RasikaRatnayake

awarding the scholarship to rasika

3 Group photo with Ms. ManiqueGunaratne, Mr. AnushaDissanayake and Ms. RasikaRatnayake

manique anusha and rasika


Executive Committee Member – Asian blind Union



Daisy (digital accessible information system) books for vision impaired persons


Digital Accessible Information System, or DAISY, is a means of creating digital talking books for people who wish to hear—and navigate—written material

Presented in an audible format; many such listeners have print disabilities including blindness, impaired vision, dyslexia or other issues.

Using DAISY, a talking book format is presented with enabled navigation within a sequential and hierarchical structure consisting of (marked-up) text synchronized

With audio.

DAISY 2 was a standard based on XHTML and SMIL

DAISY 3 is also based on XML and is standardized as ANSI/NISO Z39.86-2005 (R2012)

DAISY assists people who, for different reasons, have problems using regular printed media. DAISY books have the benefits of regular [[audiobooks]], but

They are superior because DAISY 2.02 provides up to six embedded “navigation levels” for content (i.e. other objects such as images, graphics, [[MathML]]

Etc.)and for displaying synchronized text to speech. DAISY Multimedia can be a talking book, computerized text or a synchronized presentation of text and


As a result, DAISY books allow the blind listener to navigate an encyclopedia; this is impossible using conventional audio recordings because they lack

Search and [[navigation features]] and they require linear listening

While reading a DAISY book, a reader can go to the next or previous page, chapter or sentence. DAISY is for everyone who needs accessible information and

For everyone who loves to read.

The DAISY Consortium has been selected by the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) as the official maintenance agency for the DAISY/NISO

Standard, officially, the ANSI/NISO Z39.86, Specifications for the Digital Talking Book, known as DAISY 3.

The DAISY Consortium was founded in 1996 and consists of a growing membership of organizations around the world committed to developing equitable access

To information for people who have a [[print disability]].

DAISY books can be heard on standalone DAISY players and computers using DAISY playback software

Mobile phones, and MP3 players – with limited navigation. DAISY books can be distributed on a CD/DVD, memory card or through the Internet.

A computerized text DAISY book can be read using refreshable Braille display or screen-reading software, printed as Braille book on paper, converted to

A talking book using synthesised voice or a human narration, and also printed on paper as large print book. In addition, it can be read as large print

Text on computer screen.

Software-based players include:

◾ GH PLAYER, a commercial DAISY player

◾ AMIS – Adaptive Multimedia Information System – an open-source self-voicing player for Windows that works with several screen readers; developed by the

DAISY Consortium

Emerson-reader, an open-source and cross-platform Epub and DAISY player

Dorina DAISY Reader (DDReader)

ButtercupReader, a web-based application for DAISY 3 books

CUCAT Olearia, an open-source DAISY reader for Mac OS X

Daisy Delight (DAISY 2.02, for Mac OS X and Unix-based systems)

DAISY Book Reader, GTK Daisy Talking Book reader application

Other relevant software:

Daisy Uppsala Archive Project, server-side system for managing DAISY (Digital Talking Books) files

Online Daisy Delivery Technology, open-source software to deliver DAISY books online

Hardware Players

There are also a wide range of hardware products available that can play DAISY content, usually in a portable form factor. Some of these devices are dedicated

To playback of books, while others focus on other functionality, such as PDA or mobile Internet access, and offer DAISY playback as either a feature of

The unit or as a software add-on.

In Sri Lanka the DAISY Lanka Foundation is committed to produce DAISY books for vision impaired persons and persons with print disabilities. The DAISY Lanka Foundation has undertaken many projects to fill the gap of lack of reading materials for especially in our local language (Sinhala). Ms. ManiqueGunaratne is the former Secretary of the DAISY Lanka Foundation and from 2014 she is an Executive Committee Member.



Face Book – ManiqueGunaratne


The Internet Society of Sri Lanka organized an international conference at the Kingsbury Hotel in June 2015. There were participants from the Asia Pacific region. There was a side event to discuss internet access for people with disabilities. For this discussion there were international representatives from Australia, India, Nepal and representatives from the Internet Society, Universities, IT training centres, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and provincial councils from Sri Lanka. Ms. Manique Gunaratne from The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon played a major role at this discussion. The following areas were taken into consideration.

IT (Information Technology) training for soldiers with disabilities.

More trainers to be trained on IT skills.

Legal implications for IT.

Developing special programmes for people with disabilities using programmers with disabilities.

Explore how people with disabilities can benefit from assistive technologies, collaboration with various Subject Matter Experts and through knowledge transfer opportunities.

Overcome Barriers on language skills, web accessibility and publishing documents in accessible formats.

Use IT for Self-management for Home living, Community functions and Livelihoods and Jobs etc.

Adopting the international guidelines on web accessibility.


Manique Gunaratne

E-mail –





In April 2014 the awarding of certificates to the I.C.T. trainees of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon was held at The E.F.C. auditorium. We had two guest speakers for the occasion. Dr. Iain Murrey, Senior Lecturer and Course Co-coordinator of Curtin University of Technology in Australia and Dr. Sohan Dharmaraja, a Researcher and Consultant qualified in U.S.A. The Director General of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Mr. Ravi Pieris made the welcome speech. The Co-coordinator of the E.F.C.Network on Disability, Ms. Tanya Warnakulasuriya did a speech on the Network on Disability. Dr. Iain Murrey did a very informative speech on “What the Cisco programs offer and how this leads to jobs for people with vision impairment”. Dr. Sohan Dharmaraja explain about the I pad Braille software developed by him and he donated 7 I pads with the I pad Braille software. Mr. Sayed Ahamed spoke on the experience of an I.C.T. trainee of the E.F.C. on behalf of all I.C.T. trainees. Ms. Manique Gunaratne did a presentation on the success of the I.C.T. training Centre. After that 30 visually impaired persons who have successfully completed their various courses on I.C.T. received certificates and training bags. It was a really beautiful and successful event. Many radio stations, TV stations and newspapers gave publicity to this event.


Manique Gunaratne

Mobile – 0094779571918

Group photo


The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon I.C.t. Training Centre extended its services for persons with diverse disabilities. The I.C.t. Training Centre focused more on vision impaired persons because they are the people who need I.C.t. to be equally capable as sighted persons in the work environment. From April 2015 the I.C.t. Training Centre conducts training courses for persons with diverse disabilities. The E.F.C. I.C.t. Training Centre is now a CISCO Academy. This is the only training centre in Sri Lanka which trains persons with disabilities to do CISCO courses.

The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon I.C.T. Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities started in 2009 with the support of the I.L.O. Up to-date 157 vision impaired persons have been registered to do various courses conducted at this training centre. These trainees are from all districts of the country including the North and the East. The trainees consist of job seekers, school leavers, university students and people who are gainfully employed. The EFC started conducting CISCO courses together with S.L.I.I.T. and Curtin University of Technology in Australia in 2013. The CISCO Information Technology Essential (I.T.E.) course is currently conducted at the training centre.

In April 2015 E.F.C. started conducting CCNA (Cisco Computer Network Associate) courses.

Cisco certification salary surveys show consistent gains in compensation among professionals who invest time mastering the networking company’s technology.

According to the specialists, persons with Cisco certifications are often ranked in the top three highest-paid slots. Cisco’s own research indicates that certified professionals

Often earn as much as 10 percent more than peers without Cisco credentials working in similar routing and networking jobs.

According to company officials, Cisco organizes its certifications into four broad tiers designed to help professionals measure their growth over time.

In addition, professionals can earn highly specialized versions of each certification, validating their expertise in niche areas such as:

  • Network design
  • Routing and switching
  • Voice
  • Wireless
  • Service provider operations
  • System architecture

The demand for IT workers with Cisco certifications often outstrips the supply. At many large employers, where IT and networking roles have been brought in-house, hiring managers often rely on industry certifications to verify a job seeker’s skills and expertise. Because most Cisco Certifications stack over time, professionals can often divulge their tenure in the industry just by revealing their highest certification level.


  1. The prime objective of the project is to improve the knowledge of computer and networking skills of persons with disabilities.
  2. Improve the employability of the trainees.
  3. Create a group of trainers for future training needs.

The training team consists of Ms. Manique Gunaratne from The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon and Mr. Anuradha Jayakody, Senior Lecturer from S.L.I.I.T.

For the CCNA course 9 persons with disabilities have been selected. There are 3 vision impaired, 3 hearing impaired and 3 persons with physical disabilities to be trained for the CCNA course.

The trainees are:

Ms. Kumudu Dhanasinghe (Vision impaired, Graduate from University of Peradeniya, Development Officer at Sandagala Special School), Mr. Sayed Ahamed (Vision impaired, graduate from Madurai Kamarajar University in India, Chemistry Teacher), Ms. Gamika Dilmi (Hearing impaired graphic designer), Irunika Mahawedage (Hearing impaired graphic designer), Mr. Samith Ranasinghe (Hearing impaired, Staff Ministry of Social Services), Mr. Kalinda Thilakaratne (Spinal cord injury), Mr. Chamila Suranga (Physical disability) and Mr. Sandaruwan Piyawansa (Spinal cord injury).

If anyone can create an employment opportunity for Samith, Irunika, Gamika, Chamila and Sandaruwan please contact me.


Manique Gunaratne

Board Member – Visually Handicapped Trust Fund of Ministry of Social Services

group photo ccna class


Sanali Senanayake was born vision impaired. She graduated from University of Colombo in 2015. She is an I.C.T. trainee at The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon I.C.T. Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities since 2010. Up to date she has completed courses on Microsoft Word, Computer Concepts, Windows Operations, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint. She studied in Tholangamuwa Central College through integrated education system. Nirmala Ranatunge was her music teacher. Somalatha Herath Manike through “Friends Team” assisted Sanali to produce this song.

to watch this video  please click here :-


Manique Gunaratne

Vice Chair Person – South Asian Disability Forum


Most vision impaired persons really like this course because it gives all vision impaired persons to touch and feel all parts of the computer. It gives the thearotical knowledge of the computers. A vision impaired person cannot see parts of the computer. Therefore, it is a great opportunity for them to visualize each part of a computer. The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon I.C.T. Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities conducts 9 courses in I.T. Computer Concepts is the course number 2. In May 2014 Ms. Manique Gunaratne conducted an I.C.T. course on Computer Concepts with a group of vision impaired persons. So far the Training Centre has trained 77 trainees on Computer Concepts. Up to date 157 vision impaired persons have been trained at The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon I.C.T. Training Centre.


By Manique Gunaratne

Executive Committee Member – Daisy Lanka Foundation



For more than three decades the civil war in Sri Lanka left behind thousands of persons with disabilities. East of Sri Lanka was also affected by this war. There are many rehabilitation programmes conducted by various organisations working for persons with disabilities for these people. Due to lack of education level, financial difficulties and lack of awareness among persons with disabilities they have a charity base approach. Long time ago it was the charity based approach which was adopted. Then it developed into medical based model, social based model and now it is the rights based model. Sometimes the attitudes among them are that they think that the society should provide them with all the necessities. It is very important to develop their job seeking skills. Capacity development to suit the job market is the most important. For a vision impaired person to work in a company it is very important to develop their skill which would assist them to work alongside with sighted persons. This is why I.T. skills play a major role. Handicap International and CAMID (Centre on Accessibility Monitoring and Information on Disability) organized a training for vision impaired persons at the CAMID Training Centre in Batticaloa. Ms. Manique Gunaratne conducted the training on I.T. skills for these vision impaired persons who have become blind due to the war. The trainees who were trained at this programme in May 2014 really appreciated knowledge given to them because in rural areas it is very difficult improve their knowledge on technology. The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon I.C.T. Training Centre has expanded their services for persons with disabilities to all districts in Sri Lanka.


By Manique Gunaratne (Honoured “Desha Bandu”)





I am Gayan Kosala living in Kirillawala, Kadawatha, I need to share thirty years of my life experiences as a blind person with all the people who are blind and not blind, because I believe that they will help you to make your lives a success.

I was born in 1985 as a second child to an ordinary family of four children. I entered to Kerawalapitiya Vidyaloka Maha Vidyalaya for my School education. I did my studies well as an ordinary child there. But I was lucky only for few years. Destiny crossed my life unexpectedly when I was getting ready for G.C.E O/L examination. My eye sight failed little by little. I had to face lot of difficulties as I couldn’t see things at a distance. I missed my studies . Nobody could understand my condition and I was neglected by others in the classroom. I did not want to join a special school because I had no any understanding about blindness and I thought it is a matter of shame. Due to this mental failure, I couldn’t get through the O/L examination successfully.

Then my only expectation was to gain my lost eye sight. Therefore, I met the famous local and foreign doctors around the country. But it was not a success. Finally, I met Dr. Amarathunga and he was able to make my mind strong enough to face my realistic condition. He directed me to Council for the Blind as he is having a vast knowledge about the blind.

There I understood really what life is. I got to know many people like me and the things that they can do. I strongly determined to win my life. I got the opportunity to follow the courses such as Bale, mobility and computer technology with the help of Council for the blind and the Federation of the Visually Handicapped. Mr. Sam was a great strength for me. During this time I joined computer courses conducted by Ms. Manique Gunaratne of the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon. She directed me to complete the courses such as Microsoft Word, Computer Concepts, Windows Operations, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint and Use of Internet & E-mail successfully. Many times I was appreciated as her best student. Due to my dedication, I got my opportunity to teach computer technology to the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim blind students in Vavuniya. It is the most wonderful experience in my life.

When I look back of my life, I really feel a great happiness though I have come forward through a lot of difficulties and challenges. Today I’m in a good position by facing many challenges successfully. Now, I am spending a successful married life by getting married to a blind teacher of a government school, who was also an E.F.C. I.C.T. trainee. There are some people who helped me in this journey specially my Mother. Though their names are not mentioned, I think this is the best opportunity thank and bless them all.

gayan operating the computer


It is a real challenge for vision impaired persons to serve in the I.T. field. Changing mind set is really important when dealing with i.T. for vision impaired persons. To be equally capable as a sighted person a vision impaired person must develop their I.T. skills. Some sighted people always wonder how a blind person could operate a computer. It is the same computer a sighted person use but a screen reading software is installed which converts text to speech. Microsoft Excel is used to do mathematical calculations. It is very important for vision impaired persons to be employed in different fields. Training in Microsoft Excel opens the pathway for them to work in the accounting field. The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon I.C.t. Training Centre trained a group of vision impaired persons in Microsoft Excel in June 2014. Up to date 43 trainees have been trained in Microsoft Excel by Ms. Manique Gunaratne at this training centre.