Community means everyone
It was a different experience for all participants who attended the “Community Means everyone” workshop at Green Grass Hotel in Jaffna. The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon under the ILO LEED (Local Empowerment through Economic Development) project conducted a workshop for people working in the community who comes in direct contact with persons with disabilities. There were participants from Government officers as well as from private sector. It is very important for people with non-disabilities to be sensitized on matters relating to persons with disabilities.
Ms. Sonali De Silva made the introduction to EFC Network on Disability and changing mind sets. “Disability etiquettes when dealing with persons with disabilities” was done by Ms. Maniquegunaratne. All participants learned how to interact with people with disabilities. Next two sessions were an eye opener for the community because persons with disabilities spoke on barriers they have in the community and Expectations of a person with a disability of what they expect from the society. Barriers faced were done by EFC trainee Mr. SivapathasundaranPratheepan and Mr. Vignesh explained what they expect from the society. Access to build environment was done by Ms. ManiqueGunaratne, requesting the decision makers to make public buildings access to all. Access is not only for persons with disabilities but to everyone including senior citizens, pregnant mothers, mothers carrying babies, people carrying heavy luggage etc.
The case studies done by Ms. ManiqueGunaratne gave the participants the practical approach of dealing with people with disabilities in the community.
Mr. A. Kirushanthan, the Project Manager for the North did the ground work to make the workshop successful and Mr. Vijabasker assisted in translations. At the end of the workshop all participants signed a pledge by committing themselves to do one or more activities for all persons with disabilities. It was a happy conclusion when all the participants had a group photograph holding the pledge and committing them to include persons with disabilities in the mainstream of development.
1 Group photograph of participants holding the pledge.
2 Manique making a presentation.
3 Manique, Sonali and Vijaya at the head table.
4 Participants at the workshop.
5 Pratheepan making a presentation.
6 Vignesh making a presentation.
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