Employer sensitization programme at taprobane sea foods


As Taprobane Seafood continues to expand its business, opening more factories across the island, the company eagerly partnered with the EFC’s Disability

Network to ensure that persons with disabilities were also given the opportunity to work at the new seafood processing plants. On a windy Sunday morning Taprobane Seafood Managing Director Tim O’Reilly and his Operations Manager KanesasundramThusithan, headed up to their Jaffna crab processing plant for a very special visit. The Jaffna plant which was opened at the end of 2012 along with a similar one in Killinochi is involved

In the purchase and processing of crab meat for export markets, mainly in the USA.

The company, which is firmly committed to regenerating livelihoods especially in post conflict regions such as Jaffna, started operations with a workforce

Of 700 but in less than two years they have successfully created jobs and sustainable livelihoods for over a thousand employees. Having worked in the region

Since the company started, O’Reilly was fully aware that the level of disability in the north was significantly higher than the global average, as a result

Of the thirty year conflict. The company was keen to create a diverse workforce which included persons with disabilities workers and reflected the predominantly

Female demographic of the population in the area. That morning’s visit, was to formally welcome some of Taprobane’s newest recruits, all employees with disabilities, and to open Sara House, the purpose built accommodation nearby. To assist with the recruitment process, TSF enlisted the help of the Employers’

Federation of Ceylon (EFC). The EFC through their work with the International LabourOrganisation’s LEED Project (Local Empowerment through Economic Development)

Has been working in the north since 2011 training, developing and placing persons with disabilities into mainstream jobs, and linking them to established

Supply chains, with the help of the 600 plus employer companies who are members of the EFC, and who have operations in the region.

The EFC team applauded TSF’s proactivity in wanting to hire more persons with disabilities, and the dedication of its managers, “TSF is very interested to hire persons with disabilities”. “Mr. Thusithan was highly motivated and very supportive towards

This initiative. He showed incredible flexibility in understanding their different ways of working and their needs in the workplace. He would look at how

Work practices could be adapted to enable persons with different abilities to do the processing work. Mr. Thusithan was also very open to hearing about

Their home issues and seeing how TSF could help with work life balance.” Understanding that mobility, transport costs and getting to work is an issue for

Most persons with disabilities, TSF created Sara House, a purpose built accommodation for the workers situated near to the factory. The house was named

In honour of O’Reilly’s cousin Sara, who herself had a spinal disorder. “Sara House will enable 25 people with disabilities to live and work in a safe

And tolerant environment,” O’Reilly said. “This new initiative is the consequence of collaboration between Taprobane Seafood and the Employers’ Federation

Of Ceylon, facilitated by the International LabourOrganisation’s local empowerment through economic development project.” TSF successfully recruited 15

Women with disabilities to work in the plant and live at Sara House.SatheeskumarYogeswary was one of the successful candidates. Having sustained shrapnel wound in her arm, Satheeskumar resigned herself to the idea that she would never be able to work. “From the time I had my injury I was never able to find

Work or earn money for myself. I heard about this job from welfare place in my local community. I am so happy to be able to work.”

The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon team did an employer Sensitisationprogramme at Taprobane Sea Foods in October 2015 to sensitise the staff on “Disability Etiquettes” and “Accessibility”. The staff was really impressed about the training given to them. Ms. Sonali De Silva did the presentation on the “Introduction to network on disability”. Ms. ManiqueGunaratne did the presentations on “Disability etiquettes” and “Accessibility”. At the end of the programme the team visited the Sera House. It was a really successful programme.


Picture descriptions:

1 Group photograph of the participants.

taprobane sea foods group photo

2 Manique making a presentation.

taprobane sea foods manique presentation

3 Participants at the programme.

taprobane sea foods participants

4 Sera House for persons with disabilities.

taprobane sea foods sera house

5 Sonali making a presentation.

taprobane sea foods sonali presentation


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