Category Archives: Vision Impaired Persons

Organizational capacity assessment tool

Organizational capacity assessment tool


In November 2013 Ms. ManiqueGunaratne of the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Network on Disability and Executive Committee Member of the Asian Blind Union participated at an OCAT (Organizational capacity assessment tool) workshop and the Asian blind Union executive committee meeting in New Delhi, India. This was organized by the Asian Blind Union and National Federation of the Blind, India at Hotel Thirty Three. Following areas were covered at the workshop.

The Four Abilities

The four abilities model is a framework for organization development and a tool for self-assessment within an organization.  The assessment should be done in a participatory manner, but the process should be facilitated by someone outside the organization.  The organization capacity assessment tool (OCAT) may serve as a “health check” of an organization, provide as a baseline, serve as a planning tool and may also be used to assess progress and monitor the development of the organization.

The framework proposes to look at an organization as a complex system, where an organization is divided into four parts or four abilities. These parts represent a specific ability needed in organizations that can be used for measuring the status quo in the organization.  The four abilities have been given the following names; Ability to be, ability to organize/manage, ability to relate and the ability to do. Each of these abilities contains various capacities and each capacity represents an important aspect for all organizations. Each capacity is given a score from 1 – 4 depending on which of the descriptions that best represents the current situation or the status quo in the organization.

The development of the OCAT, has also been inspired and mentored by INTRAC and Jan Knight. Further, the framework used (that of ‘4 Abilities’) is inspired by a framework developed by Digni (a Norwegian umbrella NGO).


Picture descriptions:

1 At the hotel

2 At the workshop

3 Manique making presentation.making presentation



Council Member – Cisco Networking Academy Council


International White cane day 2015


The International White Cane day is celebrated every year on 15 October. All organisations working for vision impaired persons celebrated this event. National Forum of Visually Handicapped Women celebrated this event in October at the Sri Lanka Federation of the Visually Handicapped with representatives from Women in Management, International Women’s Society, representatives from the Divisional Secretariat, Father LokendraAbeyratne and vision impaired women.

The Colombo district branch of the Sri Lanka Federation of the Visually Handicapped celebrated this day in November with the representatives of the Lions Club and vision impaired members. A walk was organized from Independence Square to the Lions Club Activity Centre. Thereafter was a gather at the Lions Club Activity Centre. Ms. ManiqueGunaratne from the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Network on Disability was invited to make a speech on “Significance of the white cane and the international white cane day”.



Executive Committee Member – Daisy Lanka Foundation




The Visually Handicapped Trust Fund Board provides numerous services for vision impaired persons. This board is under the Ministry of Social Services. This board was established by an act in 1993. The Chair Person of the board is the Secretary to the Ministry of Social Services. The rest of the board members are Director of Social Services, Representative from the Prime Minister’s Office, Director of the Disability Secretariat, Board secretary, treasurer and five vision impaired persons. Ms. ManiqueGunaratne was a board member of the Visually Handicapped Trust Fund from 2010 to 2015. The Visually Handicapped Trust Fund provides many services for vision impaired persons in Sri Lanka such as scholarships for vision impaired university students, school children, scholarships for sighted students of vision impaired parents, medical assistance, assistance for assistive devices, sports activities of vision impaired persons and many other projects related to vision impaired persons.      




Executive Committee Member – Daisy Lanka Foundation




Rights based approach for organisations working for vision impaired persons


The Asian Blind Union organized a workshop on “Right based approach of organisations” in August 2015 at Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott Riyadh Diplomatic Quarter in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

There were vision impaired participants from South Asia, Central Asia, Middle East and the Executive Committee Members of the Asian Blind Union.

The following areas were taken into consideration.

Expectation sharing.

Criteria of representative organisations representing vision impaired persons.

Roles and mandates of organisations working for vision impaired persons.

Organisations priorities and human rights.

Human rights principles.

Organisations process and human rights principles.

Distinction between charities based, needs based and right based models.

Language of rights based organisations.

Organisational assessment.

Human rights based approach to development.

Civil society and rights based organisations.

Paradigm and history of rights.

Frame work tool and instruments to Millennium Development Goal.

Application of rights based organisations.

Challenges and constraints.

Executive Committee Member of the Asian Blind Union, Ms. ManiqueGunaratne participated at this really informative and fruitful workshop.


Picture descriptions:

1 The organisers took the delegates to a barbecue dinner at an Arabic restaurant. Everyone enjoying the dinner.

traditional Arabic Dinner

2 It was really fun when all the ladies wore the traditional Abaya dress. It was compulsory to wear the Abaya for women when going outside of the hotel.

group waring abaya

3 First day all the delegates enjoyed a traditional Arabic dinner at a traditional Cottage Hotel. It was their tradition to have the ladies in one room and men in another room. The delegates enjoyed the dinner sitting on the ground. Traditional Arabic coffee, dates, traditional Arabic food was served.

barbacue dinner

4 Enjoying the lectures at the workshop.

Workshop participant 2

5 Listening to a fruitful presentation.

workshop participants



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


In February 2014 the “Leadership and Project Management” workshop was organized by the Asian Blind Union and the Nepal Association of the Blind at Hotel Manaslu in Katmandu, Nepal. Following areas were covered at the conference.

An overview of International Treaties and strategies for their Ratification and implementation.

Gender policy of Asian Blind Union.

Identifying issues and developing strategies for implementation of Asian Blind Union Gender Policy.

Assessment of the status of Ratification of Marrakesh Copy Right Treaty.

Issues relating to strengthening of organizational capacity of Asian Blind Union affiliate organization in the sub-region, Mapping of need.

Identifying issues relating to formation of groups by women leaders in the process of development of the respective project and their experiences with regard to group dynamic.

Strategy to enhance participation of Asian Blind Union affiliate organizations in the work of Asian Blind Union

Identifying the issues and difficulties faced by women leaders during development of their respective projects by using the project format.

Developing and Presentation of a strategy for implementation of the specific project.

Strengthening skills for advocacy on Ratification and Implementation of UNCRPD.

Empowering Affiliate organizations for ensuring inclusion of blind /partially sighted persons in the programmes of International Developmental Agencies such as UNDP, UNICEF, Asian Development Bank, UNESCO, ILO etc.

Development of project for implementation in the respective country by developing partnership with aforementioned international agencies.

Vision impaired persons from South Asian countries participated for this workshop. Ms. Manique Gunaratne represented Sri Lanka for this workshop.



Manique Gunaratne

Fax – 0094114547649




It is very important for vision impaired persons to be empowered and also to know their rights. People in the very grassroots level do not get any opportunity to be educated in their rights. UNCRPD clearly states the rights of persons with disabilities. The Sri Lanka Federation of the Visually Handicapped and Myright Sweden organized a workshop for 30 vision impaired persons in Kalutara, Galle, Matara and in Hambanthota districts. The participants were really enthusiastic to learn about the 50 articles of the UNCRPD. Practical training sessions made them understand more on the subject matter. Persons with disabilities are marginalized mainly due to lack of knowledge on their rights. Although persons with disabilities are subject to discrimination they hardly take legal action. The reason behind this is that they do not know the actions they should take as persons with disabilities. In June 2014 when this workshop was conducted at Dilena Hotel Ms. Manique Gunaratne was one of the resource persons.

activities for participants lecture on leadership development


Smart Cane device is an electronic travel aid used in conjunction with a normal white cane that assists a visually impaired person in mobility and navigation.

While the normal white cane can only detect obstacles up to knee height, this device is capable of detecting obstacles from knee to head height. In other words, the Smart Cane is not meant to replace the white cane but to augment its functionality. It can detect obstacles up to 3 meters when used outdoor and up to 1.8 meters when used indoor. With this increased range, it warns the users about impending obstacles before possible collision happens and helps in finding collision-free paths.

Smart cane device is not meant to replace white cane but to augment its functionality.


The benefits of using the SmartCane device are as follows:

  • It helps to detect knee-above obstacles which are usually not detected by the white cane. Such obstacles might include a tree branch, underside of a car, hanging cloth strings, protruding window air conditioners, etc. As these obstacles usually pose a risk of injury to the head and upper part of the body, it is critical to detect them early.
  • It increases the detection range to 3 meters in the long-range mode and to 1.8 meters in the short-range mode. The enhanced detection range helps in informing the user about the presence of obstacles much before touching the actual obstacle. An object as big as wall and as small as a 3 cm wide raised pipe at 3 m can be detected from mentioned distance. This early detection helps in avoiding unwanted collisions.
  • It helps in finding collision free-paths while walking by detecting and avoiding obstacles.


In March 2015 The Indian Institute of Technology gave a smart cane training for a group of vision impaired persons at The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon. Ms. Manique Gunaratne is also a proud user of a smart cane training


Many vision impaired persons in Sri Lanka are confined to the four walls at home. Research shows that lack of education, lack of vocational training makes them more dependent. Vision impaired persons at the very grassroots level do not get the relevant information for various services and facilities available for them. It is important for vision impaired persons to know their rights in order to be empowered. Some rights cannot be met individually. It has to be done through advocacy and lobbying through institutionalizing. Working as a pressure group will also assist them to meet their rights. In order to make the vision impaired persons strong in their rights The Sri Lanka Federation of the Visually Handicapped and Myright Sweden organized a workshop for vision impaired persons in Kegalle and Kandy districts at the Kandy Y.M.C.a. in July 2014. These information should reach the very grassroots level. Ms. Manique Gunaratne did a presentation on “Importance of vision impaired women to institutionalize.



Most vision impaired persons lack in their leadership skills. Due to attitude barriers and family barriers most vision impaired persons confine to the four walls of the house. It is very important to improve the leadership qualities of vision impaired persons in the very grassroots level. In order to address the above issue the Sri Lanka Federation of the Visually Handicapped and Myright Sweden organized a workshop for vision impaired persons in Gampaha, Kurunegala and Kandy districts in August 2014. The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon I.C.T. trainees were also included in this training in order to develop their leadership qualities so that it will improve their employability skills. It is also essential to educate them in their rights. Ms. Manique Gunaratne did the training on the United Nations Convention on rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)

.presentation on uncrpd




Vision impaired persons use the white cane as an eye. The sense of touch is felt by the tip of the white cane and thereby through sense they find their way. During the Second World War large number of soldiers became vision impaired. During that period Mr. Richard E. Hoover from America invented the white cane to rehabilitate the soldiers. Since then the white cane is used around the world as an assistive device for vision impaired persons.


In 1969 The International Federation of the Blind which is now known as the World Blind Union had its annual general meeting at Galle Face Hotel in Sri Lanka. At that meeting it was decided to declare 15 October as the International White cane Day. Since then each year on 15 October the International White Cane Day is celebrated around the world.


The white cane is divided into three parts.

1 The grip

The grip is the top part of the white cane and it is made out of rubber so that it is shock proof.


2 the Shaft

The shaft is the middle part of the white cane which is made out of one inch aluminum pipe.


3 The Tip

Bottom part of the white cane is called the tip which is made out of nylon rod.


The colour of the white cane is white because it can be seen at a longer distance for sighted persons. 6 inches from the bottom of the white cane is coloured in red to indicate that it is a blind person. 18 inches from the bottom is coloured in red in order to indicate that it is used by a deaf blind person. The weight of a white cane is 230 to 280g.


A white cane helps a vision impaired person to go to the destination he wants independently, safely and with the minimum period of time.


When a vision impaired person takes a white cane into his hand, he or she should decide where am I? Where should I go and how I am going.


Gate pattern is very important to walk with the white cane, which consist of body balance and the walk pattern. When you keep the left leg forward the tip of the white cane should touch the right edge of the body width.


There are technics for ascending, descending, walk through narrow ways, gliding, find gateways, walk through payments, crossing the road etc.


It is very important a vision impaired person to be independent with a white cane. Otherwise he or she will become double handicapped.


All vision impaired persons must be loud, proud and passionate when using the white cane.


Every year in October the former President of Sri Lanka His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa at his official residence, “Temple Trees” distributes the first set of white canes to mark the International White Cane Day. In October 2014 representatives from the Sri Lanka Federation of the Visually Handicapped and the Sri Lanka Council of Visually Handicapped Graduates were there to receive the white canes. Ms. Manique Gunaratne was also among the group of 6 vision impaired persons to receive the first set of white canes from His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa to mark the occasion.


Ms. Manique Gunaratne delivered two speeches on the “significance of the white cane” at the International White Cane Day celebration organized by the Sri Lanka Federation of the Visually Handicapped at the Public Library and at the Crist Church, organized by the National Forum of Visually Handicapped Women.

group photo with president 2014 manique with president2014 White cane day at public library 2014