Category Archives: Information and Communication Technology for Persons with Disabilities



Manique Gunaratne is a member of the LIRNEasia advisory board for disability research cycle, through which they hope to catalyze the innovation ecosystems that will make applications based on smartphones and other ICTs widely available to contribute to independent living by persons with disabilities in Sri Lanka.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Group photograph.

2 Research group.


Manique Gunaratne

WhatsApp: 0094779571918


Companies spend a significant amount of money on developing staff, whether it is on team-building away days, attending conferences or enhancing technical skills such as coding languages.

Part of the budget should go towards honing soft skills to nurture a positive culture among the workforce. While traditional forms of training might

involve presentations, role-plays and task-based problem-solving, companies may not have considered basic sign language as a means of complementing the existing

training provision. Yet, there are ample reasons to support implementing Basic Sign Language training as part of your staff’s ongoing professional development due to following reasons:


1 Your customers will thank you

There is a lot of buzz around the area of customer experience. While many Managers are busy mapping customer interactions and implementing email automation,

there are people who will find it harder to access your perfectly designed customer journey. If your team members are able to understand the barriers and

communicate with a hard of hearing or deaf customer, that person will gain a positive experience of your company. You benefit from increased customer opportunities

and accessing a new market by understanding how to make your promotions and offers more accessible leading to increased sales.


2 Your workforce will be more inclusive

If someone joins the team who is hard of hearing or deaf and communicates in sign language, they will feel more included if staff have some knowledge in sign language. The team will also feel more confident in approaching their deaf teammate.


3 Supporting each other

If you include sign language training as part of your workplace development programme, it could be fun to foster a “sign language only” hour in the afternoon where those who need to speak to each other can sign. This will give hearing members of staff the chance to practise their new skills with each other and deaf colleagues the opportunity to offer support and be more fully involved in their team’s development.


4 A chance to develop empathy

One of the most important soft skills you can adopt in the workplace is empathy. Learning sign language or any other language is a fast track to becoming

more empathic. As a language learner, the struggles that come with not being able to communicate fluently mean you experience a sense of humility. This

means that, if someone joins the team whose first language is not English, co-workers will know to adapt their speech and gesturing to help the newcomer

understand better.


5 Improving non-verbal communication skills

Have you ever sat through a boardroom meeting, asked your colleagues how they felt it went and realised that everyone present has a completely different?

impression of what actually happened? Deciphering those all-important non-verbal signals can be frustrating. Being able to read another’s body language

helps you know your next move in a business situation, so honing those skills is vital for a successful outcome. Learning sign language, your team will

improve their ability to pick up on non-verbal cues and will therefore become a better asset in the boardroom or on the sales floor.


These are just a few great reasons to implement Basic Sign Language training among the staff members in the companies.

The first group successfully completed the Basic Sign Language training conducted by The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Training & Disability Resource Centre in September 2019. The training was conducted by Ms. Chammi Dias.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Chammi, Manique and the participants.

2 Group photograph.

3 Participants.

4 Participants.

5 Participants.


Manique Gunaratne



Ms. Manique Gunaratne sensitized persons with disabilities in Kaduwela Divisional Secretariat area on facilities provided by The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre. The programme was organized by the Social Service Officer of the Kaduwela Divisional Secretariat in September 2019. It was a great opportunity for persons with disabilities because lack of information is a huge barrier for them to come in life.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Manique conducting the session.

2 Participants.

Manique Gunaratne

Sub Committee Member of Policy Development Unit of Prime Minister’s Office on Vocational, Technical Training and Employment Focusing on Persons with Disabilities



The Internet Society Sri Lanka Chapter together with the Ministry of Digital Infrastructure & Telecommunication organised a programme on “Internet for Education” at Isurupaya in Battaramulla in June 2019. The chief guest was the Minister of Digital Infrastructure & Telecommunication, Mr. Ajith P. Perera. All stakeholders were educated on the importance of Internet for education. Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon spoke on the importance of internet for persons with disabilities.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Manique in the panel with the minister.

2 Manique with the pannelists.

3 Manique at the panel with audience.

4 Manique speaking.

Manique Gunaratne



Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon together with EFC trainee, Mr. Udara Chathura from University of Kelaniya spoke on “English Language Communication Skills” at a half an hour radio programme titled “Anduren Eliyata” at the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation in June 2019.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

Mr. Sujeewa Manage, Ms. Manique Gunaratne and Mr. Udara Chathura recording the programme.


Manique Gunaratne

FaceTime: 0094779571918


The Ministry of Telecommunications & Digital Infrastructure together with the Diversity Collective Lanka organised a programme to educate women, children, youth and the society on how to stay safe online at Sethsiripaya, Battaramulla in June 2019. The Honourable Minister, Mr. Ajith Perera was the Chief Guest at this programme. Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon was a panellist to speak on “How to stay safe online for women with disabilities”.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Manique at the panel.

2 Manique speaking.

3 panellists.



Manique Gunaratne



The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre prepares materials in accessible formats for persons with disabilities such as Sinhala Braille, Tamil Braille, English Braille, large print, e-copies in accessible fonts and in sign language. Please make your communications access for all. For further details please contact Ms. Manique Gunaratne on or +94 779571918.

Manique Gunaratne

Member – Asia Pacific Women with Disability United


LIRNEasia joined Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon to the research advisory board for the disability research as part of their 2019-2021 research cycle, through which they hope to catalyze the innovation ecosystems that will make applications based on smartphones and other ICTs widely available to contribute to independent living by persons with disabilities in Sri Lanka.

As part of this project, they seek to understand in-depth how disabled people live their lives, the short and long-term challenges they face, and their understandings of “independence.”

They aim to do this by:

  1. Documenting challenges faced by persons with disabilities through carefully designed mini-ethnographies, focused group discussions and in-depth interviews;
  2. Envisioning along with the beneficiaries, the solutions and conditions that would enable them to live more independent lives;
  3. Categorizing the identified problems and possible solutions into ICT-based solutions/assistive technologies and analog complements;
  4. Bringing together designers, software developers and beneficiaries to co-create ICT-enabled solutions/assistive technologies

LIRNEASIA seek the input of the research advisory board on the first three activities described above, specifically to provide input on the research instruments, provide feedback on research findings, envision solutions to key issues identified through the research and provide input on policy briefs.


Manique Gunaratne

Vice President – Rehab Lanka Sports Club for Persons with Disabilities


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 700 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.

The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon ICT Training Centre with the support of the #InternationalLabourOrganisationSri LankaOffice started a course of study in Windows Operations for 15 persons with diverse disabilities (vision impaired, partially sighted, hearing impaired, physical disabilities and slow learners) in March 2019. Up to date 90 persons with disabilities have registered to follow this course of study in Windows Operations.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Trainee learning online.



2 Group of persons with disabilities learning.

3 Group photograph.

4 Hearing impaired persons learning through sign language.

Manique Gunaratne

Skype – manique.g