Category Archives: Women with Disabilities


In August 2013 Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Network on Disability, Executive Committee Member of the Asian Blind Union and General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Federation of the Visually Handicapped (2010 to 2015) was the national coordinator and the organizer to organize a seminar for visually impaired women in South Asian countries organized by the Asian Blind Union. Asian Blind Union organized a sub-regional workshop for South Asian Sub Regional countries for empowerment and strengthening of leadership and managerial skills of blind women leaders associated with its affiliated blindness organizations at Tangerine Beach Hotel, Kalutara. Asian Blind Union is one of the regional unions of World Blind Union which is the only voice of the blind at the international level and has a consultative status with the United Nations and its agencies. It has its affiliate organizations in almost all the countries of south Asian sub region, central Asian sub region and Middle East sub region. The workshop was inaugurated by its President Mr. S. K. Rungta from India. While inaugurating the workshop, Mr. Rungta expressed the concern about non utilization of our blind women leader’s skills in the organizational work. He informed that a study undertaken by Asian Blind Union has revealed that the participation of blind women in organizational work and their coverage in the services and programmes for the blind both in Government and NGO sector is very minimal. Keeping in view, this factor, the Union has undertaken a project titled as “women and IT” by which a greater role for blind women leaders would be facilitated both in terms of enhancement of their roles in organizational work and their coverage.

Addressing the inaugural function of the workshop, Ms. Sachu Ramalingam, project manager informed that opportunities will be provided to blind women leaders to first plan and formulate small projects for empowerment of blind women in their respective e countries and there after implement the same with the financial support from the Asian Blind Union. She maintained that this approach would build and enhance self confidence among blind women leaders. This will also help in change the attitudes of the leadership of blindness organizations towards the attainment of gender equity and equality.

Mr. QariSaad Noor, Treasurer Asian blind Union, Mr. Alex Jayawardane, President Sri Lanka Federation of the Visually Handicapped, Ms. Shalika Karunaratne, Executive Committee member, Sri Lanka Council for the Blind and Ms. Manique Gunaratne, Executive Committee member of the Asian Blind Union and local coordinator of the workshop also emphasized the need for such initiatives and expressed their commitment to work together in this laudable endeavour.

About twenty women participants from five countries viz. India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal participated in this workshop. On this occasion, a manual titled as, “Manual on organizational leadership and project management” which has been prepared through voluntary contributions of Mr. S. K. Rungta, President ABU, Mr. Amer Makaram, Secretary General ABU, Mr. K. Ramkrishna, General Secretary National Association for the Blind, India, Ms. Sachu Ramalingam, Project Manager, ABU. This manual is one of first of its kind to be used as reference material in organizational work and project management particularly by those who aspire to undertake responsible positions in the organizations of / for the blind as it provides very basic knowledge and skills in those areas.  The Union has published this manual in all accessible formats including Braille and large print. It will also be translated in Russian and Arabic languages to make it accessible for the benefit of leaders in central Asia in Middle East.  This workshop was the first in its series of three workshops as two remaining workshops will be organized for central Asia and Middle East in September and October respectively. This project has been financially supported by Norwegian Association of the blind and partially sighted. Media was present at the occasion. Several TV channels telecasted this programme in their main news bulletin. Following areas were covered in the programme.

An overview of organizational structure and responsibilities of different functionaries for identifying the reasons of lesser participation of women in different organizational roles

Requirement in terms of empowerment of women leaders to enable them to participate at different levels equally with male leaders.

An overview of the concept of project and project planning SESSION

Project Writing

Identification of project idea and the project planning

Around the idea so identified.

Describing organizational profile in the project including ‘SWOT’ analysis

Writing organizational profile

Describing activity plan in the project

Describing resource plan and budget of a project

Implementation strategies and administration of a project

Writing the activity plan around a project idea.

Resource plan and developing a badger for the project

Meeting Management

Conducting meetings

Documentation and recording decisions, resolutions and descend

Monitoring, its meaning and object

The role and involvement of different functionaries in monitoring of the Project by ABU including National Affiliated Organization, Staff of affiliated organizations, focal points, Project Manager and Table Officers

Monitoring Tools

Strategies of monitoring

Tools for monitoring


Manique Gunaratne

Face Book – Manique Gunaratne



In September 2013 Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Network on Disability and from the Disability Organisations’ Joint Front did a presentation on “How to include women with disabilities to the mainstream of development”, at a seminar organized by the Disability Organizations’ Joint Front and the Ministry of Women Affairs for women with disabilities at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute.


Manique Gunaratne

Skype – manique.g





Ms. Chapa Perera is excited to share with you, these eight videos that were produced byHashtag Generation funded by UN Women on International Women’s Day 2016 featuring an interesting group of men and women speaking about Gender Equality in Sri Lanka and we’d love got you to take a look.


1)      Your neighborhoodtutktuk driver

2)      Young transgender activist    

3)      Ms.ManiqueGunaratne on how women with disabilities experience double

4)     If a woman overtakes you while driving does it hurt your ego?

5)      Malsha Kumaratunga on the sexism that women who run for public office have to

6)     Actress AnojaWeerasinghe’s appeal to all men to join the fight for gender equality

7)      What does Islam say about Gender Equality?

8)     Dr.SelvyThiruchandran on what Gender Equality means to

The videos were featured on the BBC-Sinhala radio here: (listen from 23:00) & on the BBC Sinhala site here: could also be accessed on theHashtag Generation Youtube page.



Executive Committee Member for Advocacy and Lobbying for Rights of Persons with Disabilities – Sri Lanka Foundation for Rehabilitation of the Disabled

Asia pacific civil society forum on sustainable development includes persons with disabilities

Asia pacific civil society forum on sustainable development includes persons with disabilities

The Asia-Pacific Civil Society Forum on Sustainable Development (CSO Forum) was organized by UNESCAP (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for the Asia and Pacific)
And UNEP in collaboration with Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) and other civil society partners at Nouvo City Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand and the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) at the United Nations Conference Centre, Bangkok, Thailand in april 2016.
Ms. Manique Gunaratne from The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Network on Disability and from the South Asian Disability Forum participated at this event representing women with disabilities. Women with disabilities from Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Indunisia and Sri Lanka participated at this forum.
ON behalf of the civil society networks and on behalf of the Disability Constituency we persons with disabilities would like to thank ESCAP and member states for inclusion of civil society in this meeting. We hope the inputs of CSO will be considered and adopted as your priorities in implementing SDGs.
As you rightly focus on issues of inequality, it is critical to remember that persons with disabilities (10 -15% of the total population) amongst the most likely to live in poverty, to be denied development rights, their right to makes choices over their bodies, to achieve justice and remedies when experiencing gender based violence, to enjoy education, meaningful and decent work, to control resources and to participate in public life.
Government policies that privatize public services, reduce the commons and value economic growth over human rights have a devastating impact on persons with disabilities particularly women with disabilities.
SDG itself lacks of inclusive language and essence. Nor the specific goals or priority action areas are phrased in a way that would embrace an inclusive society that leaves no one behind. Unfortunately, persons with disabilities like us continue to be left behind.
We believe it is important to rely on already existing tools and commitments, which can support national planning/implementation with reference to Development Justice in national and regional level. This will surely pose challenges particularly with regards to some specific indicators. But LGBTI, Older Persons, Youth, Women, Dalits, Migrant Workers, Women in Politics and Persons with disabilities strongly believe that is the only way to gets the measures done.
We are standing ready to provide you with our experiences. We encourage all governments to adopt the principles of Development Justice as they advance their work through ESCAP as well as at national, international and global levels.

Picture descriptions:
1 Presenting the APWWDU statement in session 3.

APWWDU statement in Session3
2 Day 1 at the conference Manique with the participants.

day 1 at conference manique with participants
3 Day 1 Manique at the conference.

day 1 at conference manique
4 Day 1 Manique at the conference.

day 1 manique at conference
5 Day 1 Manique at the conference hall.

day 1 manique at hall
6 Day 1 women with disabilities.

day 1 women with disabilities
7 Day 1 women with disabilities.

day 1 women with disabilities more clear
8 Day 2 with all the participants.

day 2 all participants
9 day 2 participants.

day 2 participants
10 Day 3group 3 group photo of all participants
11 Day 3 group photograph of women with disabilities.

day 3 group photo of all participants
12 Day 3 meeting of women with disabilities.

day 3 group photo of wwd
13 Day 3 at the meeting.

day 3 meeting of wwd
14 Strategic planning meeting of APWWDU.

APWWDU statement in Session3

Manique Gunaratne
Face time: 0094779571918

World vision sri lanka includes women with disabilities on international women’s day

World vision sri lanka includes women with disabilities on international women’s day


World Vision Sri Lanka celebrated International Women’s Day at their Colombo Office with their staff members in March 2016. The key area they highlighted was women with disabilities. Western Province Director of Social Services spoke on Government Prospect of Persons with disabilities. Ms. ManiqueGunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Network on Disability did a presentation on “Discrimination faced by women with disabilities and water and sanitation for women with disabilities”. The World Vision team was committed to take this forward to the grassroots level.


Picture descriptions:

1 Manique at the head table.manique at the head table

2 Manique making the presentation with screen.manique making presentation with screen

3 Manique making the presentation.manique making presentation

4 Manique with the audience.manique making the presentation with audience


Face Book – ManiqueGunaratne

Women with disabilities in monaragala district get the opportunity to celebrate international women’s day

Women with disabilities in monaragala district get the opportunity to celebrate international women’s day


Hundreds of women with disabilities walked from Monaragala bus stand to the Library auditorium holding boards with rights of women with disabilities. Sri Lanka Foundation of the Rehabilitation of the Disabled organised the International Women’s Day in Monaragala. DHR Organisation in Sweden funded for this project. Delegates from Sweden, members of SLFRD, Provincial Council Ministers, Government Officials, District Secretary, men and women with disabilities and Deputy Minister Sumedha G. Jayasena participated for this event. The walk was from Monaragala bus stand to the Public Library auditorium in Monaragala. There after the gathering was held.

Welcome and objective of the Symposium was done by Secretary, Wellassaa Organization. Mrs. D. A. Padmakulasooriya, District Secretary, Monaragala spoke on Women with Disabilities and the Responsibility of the State.Ms. SwwarnaMalkanthi from Wellassa organization shared her Experience of being a Woman with a Disability. The key note address on Disability and Society was done by Ms. Manique Gunaratne (Vice President, South Asian Disability Forum, SLFRD and The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Network on Disability).  Leading women with disabilities in Monaragala district was recognised and awarded certificates on this day.

Empowering Women with Disabilities and the Role of the Provincial Ministry was done by Hon. Kumarasiri Rathnayake – Provincial Minister, Social Services & Women Affairs. The Monaragala declaration of women with disabilities was handed over to the Provincial Council Minister. Deputy Minister, Ms. Sumedha G. Jayasena also addressed the gathering. Mr. Tikiri Kumara Jayawardena fromWellassa Organization moderated the panel discussion. The following panelists spoke on different topics. Evolution of Women Development & Women Rights in Sri Lanka was by Mrs. U. D. N. Seelawathie – UvaWellassa Women Farmers Organization. Swedish Experience of Women with Disabilities was by Ms. Asa Kristina – Society without Borders’s (DHR) Sweden.Ms. KanchanaPradeepa De Silvafrom the Disability Organization Joint front and Secretary, Sri Lanka Foundation for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled spoke on Importance of Social Inclusion of Women with Disabilities. Exploitation of Girl Child & Women and the Role of Sri Lanka Police was delivered by IP Mrs. Chamila Priyadarshanee – Officer in Charge, Divisional Child & Women Bureau. Smiling faces of women with disabilities in Monaragala district showed their courage and how empowered they are to face challenges.


Picture descriptions:

1 Banner of the programme.banner of the programme

2 Key note speech by Manique.key note speach by manique

3 Manique and Kanchana joined  the walk together with women with disabilities in Monaragala.manique and kanchana at the walk

4 Manique in the audience.manique at the audience

5 Manique, Kanchana and Subhani.manique kanchana and subhani

6 Manique with Asa and Fedrik from Sweden at entrance of the auditorium.manique with asa and fedrik from sweeden

7 Walk.walk 2

8 Happy bunch of ladies in the walk.walk


Manique Gunaratne

Disability organisations’ joint front celebrateD international women’s day with women with disabilities

Disability organisations’ joint front celebrateD international women’s day with women with disabilities


The Disability Organisations’ Joint Front celebrated the International Women’s Day with women with disabilities in all corners of Sri Lanka at the YWCA hall. Delegates from DHR Organisation in Sweden, women with disabilities, Government officials representing the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Ministry of Social Services and other relevant authorities participated at this workshop. The resource persons were Dr. Ms. SepaliKottegoda from University of Colombo, Director of Department of Cultural Affairs, Ms. AnushaGokula Fernando and Ms. ManiqueGunaratne. At the end of the programme with the ideas of all women with disabilities who participated, a declaration was drafted and was handed over to the Minister of Women Affairs at the National Women’s Day celebrations held in Ampara.


Picture descriptions:

1 Manique as resource person.manique as resource person

2 Manique making presentation.manique making presentation

3 Manique with Sweeden delegates.manique with sweeden delegates

4 Participants.participants




Leadership Training and the South Asia Conference on the role of Women with Disabilities in Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals

Leadership Training and the South Asia Conference on the role of Women with Disabilities in Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals

Women Parliamentary Caucus (WPC) of Pakistan invited Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The employers’ Federation of Ceylon Network on Disability, to attend the Leadership Training and the South Asia Conference on the role of Women with Disabilities in Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in January 2016 in Pakistan. The event was held at Hotel Magala in Islamabad, Pakistan.
The Leadership Training and the South Asia Conference on the role of Women with Disabilities in Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals under the South Asian Disability Forum (SADF)’s project South Asia Disability and Development Initiative (SADDI) was organized in collaboration with Women Parliamentary Caucus (WPC), British Council Pakistan, CBM, Special Talent Exchange Program (STEP), Women Refugee Commission (WRC), Aurat Foundation (AF), National Forum of Women with Disabilities (NFWWD). The Leadership Training aimed to empower Women with Disabilities and build their capacities as Leaders and to strengthen our work regionally and nationally for inclusive Development.
Women with disabilities from Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Korea and Pakistan participated at this programme.
On the final day there was a conference with representatives of parliamentarians, high level government officials, media, representatives from the organisations of persons with disabilities and NGO’s.
Ms. Manique Gunaratne was interviewed by several media channels.

Picture descriptions:
1 Manique addressing the conference.

addressing the gathering
2 Manique at the workshop with banner
3 group photograph at the closing ceremony of the conference.conference closing group
4 Participants at the conference.Participants at the conference
5 Group photograph of the opening ceremony of the photo opening
6 Panel discussion at the conference.conference panel
7 group photograph of the workshop participants with the certificates.

group photo certificates
8 Group photograph of the opening ceremony of the photo opening
9 Manique with the certificate.manique holding the certificate
10 manique receiving the certificate.receiving the certificate
11 Day 1 of the workshop.workshop day 1 (1)
12 Group of participants at Day 3 of the workshop.workshop day 3 group more clear
13 Manique at Day 3 of the workshop.workshop day 3 manique
14 Day 3 of the workshop.workshop day 3
15 Day 2 of the workshop.workshop group day 2

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


The Zonta woman of achievement awards ceremony is the flagship event of Colombo held every biennium since 1985. Zonta Club is committed to recognize and reward women who have achieved outstanding success in their respective fields and contributed towards national development. Zonta Club informed that they received nominations from across a wide range of disciplines and all regions of Sri Lanka. An independent panel of eminent judges selected the winners. The Zonta woman achiever of 2014 awards ceremony was held at Hotel Galadari. Attorney General, Mr. Palitha Fernando was the Chief Guest at this ceremony. In May 2014 Ms. Manique Gunaratne received the “Zonta Woman of Achievement 2014 award” in the field of disability.

zonta awards 2014



One of the most unpleasant things about being a person with a disability has to deal with negative attitudes around you.

And it’s sad, but true, that it’s not uncommon that the people who look down at you because you are in a wheelchair or use a white cane to get around,

Are the very people who are supposed to help you and look after your interests?

Hospitals – especially government outfits – are, unfortunately, one of them.

People with disabilities are very much interested in trying to find out about their latest medical results.

They toss and turn in their beds with worry.

The first thing they unexpectedly receive is “greeted by” a rather plump, sour-faced, rude and grumpy face.

But what we do not like is being forced as a person with a disability is to take on the personal problems of the others.

Sometimes most places turn out to be places where more is done to ruin the “feel good factor” for you than to help you.

I have personal experience of numerous accounts from my friends with disabilities of horrible encounters with people with non-disabilities when they have to turn to them for help.

These include the frontline, the desk staff, higher-up officers and professional counselors in the society.

People with disabilities are treated with little respect and sometimes, no respect at all.

They can’t get assistance from the car park; no one is there to help those open heavy doors (which shouldn’t be there) in the department’s office.

Few would offer them a smile. Waiting to be attended to can take forever. Asking more than a couple of questions would be frowned upon.

Many of them are spoken to condescendingly, whilst others are literally not spoken to at all!

Some people turn their attention to their able-bodied helpers instead, assuming the real clients are unable to speak – or have little intelligence to


I myself have come across frontline staff that was very impersonal with me, with their officious and detached tones.

Sometimes people dealing with us are so impersonal and snobbish that I was made to feel as if I should be “grateful” that they were even trying to help

Me in the first place.

As a trained person with a disability I, having served for over 15 years of well-known service in the disability field nationally and internationally, making a person feel

This way is the worst thing you can do to someone’s psyche when they come to you for assistance.

The question which really needs to be asked here is how well and properly trained people in the society are to help persons with disabilities.

Does each and every one of these able-bodied workers even realise that it is because of their clients that they have their jobs in the first place?

The good news, however, is all this now appears to be changing.

But whether this is happening only just in the urban the rural remains to be seen.

Several people with disabilities whom I have spoken to told me that now some people are more polite and genuinely caring towards them.

Many of us think these changes are coming about because of the advocacy and lobbying done in the disability field.

Department of Social Services organizes a social dialogue to discuss several areas of disability every month. This is a platform where persons with disabilities and persons with non-disabilities can take part to make justice for all. In March Ms. Manique Gunaratne did a presentation on “Enhancing ethics and etiquettes to promote social justice for children with special needs” at the Department of Social Services.

enhancing ethics and etiquettes at department of social services