Category Archives: Rights of Persons with Disabilities


EFC Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre together with Mr. Joel Snyder,
President of the Audio Descriptions Associates USA conducted the Audio Descriptions
training in September 2019 at The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon. Arts providers
(performing arts producers/presenters, visual art professionals), educators, writers, artists and
vision impaired persons were trained on how to do Audio Descriptions for videos and films.
At the conclusion of the session, participants experienced:
— who are "the blind"?
— the history of Audio Description
— Active Seeing / Visual Literacy
— how to develop skills in concentration and observation
— the art of "editing" what you see
— using language to conjure images
— how to use the spoken word to make meaning
Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:
1 Conducting a session.

2 Group photograph.

3 Joel with the participants.

4 Manique and Joel with participants.

5 Manique

6 Participants

Manique Gunaratne
Manager – Specialise Training and Disability Resource Centre of The Employers’ Federation
of Ceylon


Finding an accessible taxi app and a transport service is a problem for persons with disabilities in Sri Lanka. Public transport networks in the city are inaccessible and private vehicles on the whole are inadequate and expensive for wheelchairs. Manique Gunaratne together with the app developers of a well-known taxi service are working on how to make the taxi mobile app accessible for vision impaired, partially sighted and hearing-impaired persons. They are also exploring the possibilities of promoting a special care service for persons with disabilities with trained taxi drivers and accessible vehicles.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Manique and Malaka to expand the services to persons with disabilities.

Manique Gunaratne

Vice Chair Person – South Asian Disability Forum


Manique Gunaratne attended the 2019 Disability Inclusive Development Train-the-Trainers Intensive training, organized by the Korea Disabled People’s Development Institute (KODDI) established under the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea, funded by government of Republic of Korea in Seoul, Korea in November 2019. The programme was held at the Shilla Stay Mapo Hotel.

The program was focused on building knowledge and skills in the area of disability inclusive development together with the tools to deliver participatory disability inclusive development workshops.

Korea Disabled People’s Development Institute (KODDI) as a public institution under the Ministry of Health and Welfare has been a focal point in the area of Persons with Disabilities ever since its inception in 1989. KODDI is leading “Incheon Strategy” which is a regional consensus to “Make the Right Real” for 690 million PWDs (Persons with Disabilities) in Asia and the Pacific with UNESCAP (a regional commission of United Nations Economic and Social Council). KODDI has been designated as the secretariat of Make the Right Real Fund since 2013, implementing programs benefiting PWDs in cooperation with governments, international organizations, civil societies including DPOs in Asia and the Pacific.

“2019 Disability Inclusive Development Train-the-Trainers Intensive Workshop” was the first initiative for trainers on UNCRPD and SDGs in collaboration with Harvard Law School Project on Disabilities.

The overall Objective: was to design and implement a pilot Train-the-Trainers program focusing on building knowledge and skills in the area of disability inclusive development.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Getting ready for the training.

2 Day 1 of the training.

3 At the training.

4 Participants.

5 Group photograph.

6 Group work.

7 Preparing for group work.

8 Manique and Alies.

9 Manique and Deepti.

10 Manique and Mijoo.

11 Manique and Sagarika at group work.

12 Manique presenting.

13 Manique making a presentation.

14 Manique and Madina.

15 Manique, Sagarika, Jane and alies.

16 Manique, Sagarika and Madina.

17 Manique and Sagarika with banner.

18 Group work.

19 Manique, Sagarika and Amalia.

20 Group photograph.

21 Manique with the KODDI President.

22 Meeting with the KODDI officials.


Manique Gunaratne

Viber: 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



Grassroot level Organisations finds it very difficult to run the organisation due to lack of financial resources. The Institute for Monitoring & Evaluation (TIME) and Change the Game Academy in Netherlands conducted a training programme on Local Fund Raising at Coral Sands Hotel – Hikkaduwa  in September 2019. The reasons to conduct this Fund Raising programme is to:

  1. Fundraising makes nonprofits plan.
  2. Fundraising makes nonprofits see where they are vulnerable.
  3. Fundraising makes nonprofits work as teams and align goals.
  4. Fundraising makes nonprofits prioritize projects.
  5. Fundraising makes nonprofits partner.
  6. Fundraising makes nonprofits work to alleviate the greatest community needs.
  7. Fundraising makes nonprofits evaluate.
  8. Fundraising makes nonprofits sustainable.
  9. Empower organisations at grass root level.

Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Group activity.

2 Group activity.

3 Group photograph.

4 Group photograph.

5 Manique presenting.

Manique Gunaratne

Manager – Specialise Training and Disability Resource Centre of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon


We are all persons with disabilities at some time in our lives. A child, a person with a broken leg, a parent with a pram, pregnant mother, an elderly person, etc. are all disabled in one way or another. Those who remain healthy and able-bodied all their lives are few. As far as the built-up environment is concerned, it is important that it should be barrier-free And adapted to fulfill the needs of all people equally. As a matter of fact, the needs of the persons with disabilities coincide with the needs of the majority, and all

People are at ease with them. As such, planning for the majority implies planning for people with varying abilities and disabilities.

The technical aim of an access audit is to give recommendations to provide a barrier-free Environment for the independence, convenience and safety of all people with disabilities and persons with not yet with a disability. The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Specialized Training & Disability Resource Centre conducted an access audit to give recommendations to Logiwiz Ltd. Who Provides services to Unilever Sri Lanka to make their premises a barrier free environment for persons with disabilities in July 2019.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

Ms. Manique Gunaratne, Mr. Santhush Peiris, Ms. Ayasana Gunasekera and Mr. Chamod Nayananda.


Manique Gunaratne

Vice Chair Person – South Asian Disability Forum