Category Archives: Specialised Training


Cisco csr blog recognises the employers’ federation of Ceylon


The Cisco training done for persons with disabilities at The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon ICT Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities was recognized by the Cisco CSR blog. Please read the article on:



Co-ordinator – ASSET (Advancing Special Skills for Economic Transformation) Project



CISCO Women rock it


CISCO launched a new CISCO TV series “Women Rock IT” in November 2015. The Surprising Role Technology Help People and The Planet. This programme is to Rock in with Women who realize their passion helping people and the planet. This programme was held at the Vocational Training Authority. Rocking women in the Technology field were invited as resource persons for this event.     

AlaneCahalane, CEO of Veterinary Specialty Hospital Hong Kong spoke on how Technology played a pivotal role in reviving hopes that a lame bear will walk again.

AnuSridharan, Co-Founder and CEO of NextDrop in India spoke on how technology is being used to solve the impact of an unreliable water delivery service in India.
ManiqueGunaratne from The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon spoke on how technology has played a major role in life’s of persons with disabilities in Sri Lanka.

MaithreeMalwathegoda, Assistant General Manager Fusion spoke on how a woman would benefit technology in order to have a successful professional and family life in Sri Lanka.


Picture description:

1 Manique making the presentation.

making presentation single

2 Manique highlights the important points.

making presentation

3 Participants at the programme.



National Campaigner for Rights of Women with Disabilities – Raising Our Voices for Us





The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon represents Cisco academy conference and cisco awards 2015


Cisco Networking Academy has been partnering with education

Institutions, instructors and students for more than 15 years to build

And shape for future workforce.

This success of this program has been to Instructors of Cisco

Networking Academy. Academy Instructors are critical to create joint impact. The employers’ Federation of Ceylon ICT Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities is a CISCO Academy.

The Cisco Networking Academy Conference was held in November 2015 at Cisco office Colombo. Ms. ManiqueGunaratne participated at this conference as a CISCO International Trainer.

The conference was focused on three main topics.

First sharing best practices from the NetAcad Community for the

NetAcad Community. Second was about the NetAcad curriculum and roadmap updates and third, to be inspired by new projects and concepts to come in the Near future around the Internet of Everything.

Internet of Everything’ session was led by Rajiv Niles, Director

Digital Transformation and IOE Acceleration.

Technical breakout Sessions was led by AnanthRao, Technical

Manager APAC

The CISCO Awards 2015 was held at Cinnamon Grand Hotel. The Director General, Mr. KanishkaWeerasinghe and Ms. ManiqueGunaratne participated for the CISCO Awards 2015.


Picture descriptions:

1 Manique at the conference.

at conference

2 Manique at the awards ceremony.


3 Group photograph of the Instructors


(Honoured, Desha Bandu) Ms. H.K. ManiqueGunaratne


EFC’s ICT Training Centre launches globally recognized CISCO qualification


Since its inception in 2001, 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 adept guidance of Manique Gunaratne, Head of the ICT Training Centre, it has benefited 159 persons with diverse disabilities to date including school leavers, job seekers, undergraduates and those employed from all corners of the island. Ms. Gunaratne was recruited as a role model to the Network on Disability in 2001, as the first employee with a disability. Losing her sight 15 years ago due to retinitispigmentosa for which no cure has still been found, Ms. Gunaratne’s commitment to the betterment of the visually impaired in the country is exemplary.

Trained both locally and internationally to teach, promote and develop ICT for persons with disabilities, Ms. Gunaratne has been nationally and internationally recognized. A Gold Medalist at the World Assembly for Women with Disabilities held in Seoul, Korea in 2011, she is also armed with several coveted national awards including the Keerthi Sri Lankabhimani Desha Bandu Award, Zonta Woman Achiever and Most Inspirational Woman on Special Skills of the Year – all of which was conferred on her last year and the Diriya Kantha Award in 2007.

The Training Centre fully equipped with more than 50 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 620 companies.

The ICT Training Centre receiving the CISCO Academy status last year 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,” said Ms. Gunaratne who now joins the international team of trainers to conduct CISCO courses. In April this year, EFC commenced conducting Cisco Computer Network Associate Courses (CCNA). “Specialists reveal that persons with CISCO qualifications are often ranked in the top three highest paid slots. CISCO’s own research indicates that certified professionals often earn as much as 10% more than peers without CISCO credentials working in similar routing and networking jobs.”

The demand for IT workers with CISCO certifications often outstrips the supply, says the Head of EFC’s ICT Training Centre who cites three main objectives of introducing this globally recognized qualification to persons with disabilities. “The prime objective of it is to improve the computer knowledge and networking skills of them. Moreover, it aims to improve the employability of the trainees and create a group of trainers for future training needs.” The training team consists of Ms. Manique Gunaratne and Mr. Anuradha Jayakody, Senior Lecturer from SLIIT, Malabe.

For the CCNA Course, nine persons with disabilities have been selected. Among them are three vision impaired participants, three hearing impaired participants and three with physical disabilities. On 23rd October 2015 the Commercial Bank donated millions worth of CISCO equipment for the conduct of the courses. The handing over of equipments was held at The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon auditorium.

The following articles were published in the news papers.


Picture description:


Group photograph of Mr. Vajira Ellepola (EFC), Ms. Sonali De Silva (EFC), Ms. Manique Gunaratne (EFC), Ms. Priyanthi Perera (Commercial Bank), Mr. Dishan Fernando (Commercial Bank), Mr. Ashoka Baddage and Ms. Kalhari Kaluarachchi (CISCO).


Manique Gunaratne

Viber: 0094779571918


Seven vision impaired persons successfully completes Microsoft powerpoint


The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, ICT Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities up to date has trained 159 persons with disabilities on various courses in ICT skills. Microsoft PowerPoint is very important for a vision impaired person to make presentations for sighted audience. The course was conducted by Ms. ManiqueGunaratne. These trainees were also given training on Spoken English to develop their language skills. Ms. Vino Arumugam conducted the Spoken English training session. Up to date 31 vision impaired persons have successfully completed Microsoft PowerPoint. These trainees completed the course in September 2015. Mr. S. Pratheepan did a PowerPoint presentation at the workshop on “Community Means everyone” at Green Grass Hotel in Jaffna organized by EFC. It is really impressing to see the trainees utilizing the knowledge gained from the ICT Training Centre. Following are the seven vision impaired persons who successfully completed the course on Microsoft PowerPoint.

1 Mr. Chandana De Silva (Job seeker)

2 Mr. Pream Kumar (Job seeker)

3 Mr. JeewanLilaratne (Job seeker)

4 Mr. SayedAhamed (Chemistry Teacher at Genius Academy)

5 Mr. Sanjeewa Kumara (Job seeker)

6 Ms. SanaliSenanayake (Graduate from University of Colombo, Job seeker)

7 Mr. S. Pratheepan (Student, University of Jaffna)

We would greatly appreciate if you could assist us in finding employment for these persons. Please contact me on or


Picture description:

Group of trainees with Ms. ManiqueGunaratne at The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon



The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon,

385 J3 Old Kotte Road,


Sri Lanka.


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