Empowering Persons with Disabilities is important to address the prevailing issues of social and economic inclusion of Persons with Disability in Sri Lanka.  To address the issue of social and economic inclusion, the Prime Minister’s Office has established a sub-Committee on Vocational and Technical Training focusing on Persons with Disabilities and in line with the government’s “Vision 2025”. This committee represents many stakeholders from the private sector, including State Vocational Training Institutions under the Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training and Ministry of Social Empowerment and Welfare.

The Sub-Committee scheduled a “Train the Trainer Program” in September 2017 for private sector companies who are passionate in lending a hand to persons with disabilities. The Train the Trainer Program was held at the Training Institute for Technical Professionals (TITP).

Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre conducted the training sessions on “Disability etiquettes” on day 1, “Accessible formats for persons with disabilities” on day 2 and “Access to build environment” on day 3.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Day 1 Manique conducting the session

2 Day 1 participants.

3 Day 2 Manique conducting the session.

4 Day 2 Manique instructing on sighted guide technique.

5 Day 2 participants.

6 Day 3 Manique conducting the session.

Manique Gunaratne

Fax – 0094112867946


“By offering more employment opportunities for those with disabilities, you will be doing yourself a favour,” reflected the Director General of the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) Kanishka Weerasinghe, addressing the EFCs Employers’ Network on Disability which met last month to re-constitute the committee drawn from the EFC member companies. Calling upon a gathering of employers, including the new steering committee representing 14 member companies, the EFC Chief urged the network to open more employment opportunities to people with disabilities who have proven to be productive partners in the workforce. “What most of us take for granted such as commuting to work is a challenge for those with disabilities; yet despite all those odds, their attendance and punctuality are far superior to those blessed with all faculties,” asserted Weerasinghe urging for an inclusive workplace. He also reminded that sustainability is all about showcasing best practices.


The EFC Employers’ Network on Disability which was set up in 1999 with the support of the ILO, seeks to champion productive employment for those with disabilities while empowering them to retain employment at the same time. Offering a broad spectrum of facilities including job preparation, job placements, ICT training, life skills including English language skills to those with disabilities, the Network is also armed with a fully equipped digital library and a resource centre. “These facilities are open to undergraduates, post graduate students and even job seekers,” says Manique Gunaratne, Manager, Specialised Training and Disability Resource Centre. The ICT Training Centre which is now upgraded into a fully-fledged centre is the only facility in the country which renders ICT know-how to persons with diverse disabilities. The facility also made history as the first ever CISCO-accredited academy for persons with diverse disabilities in the country.


Offering an array of other facilities including printing of braille and large print pocket calendars, Access Audits for companies, the ICT training centre has also taken strides to connect ICT students with disabilities through virtual platforms. “This initiative was made possible through a partnership with the Internet Society of Sri Lanka and it spares the beneficiaries from the hassle of commuting, enabling them to follow the courses on-line in the comfort of their own homes,” explains Ms. Gunaratne.


Reiterating that the Network on Disability is not a charity project but a realization of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to which Sri Lanka is a signatory, Ms.Gunaratne encouraged member companies to ‘give a chance to those with disabilities to prove that they are able’ in many ways.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

  1. Speech by Mr. Kanishka Weerasinghe

2. Participants.

3. Presentation by Manique Gunaratne

4. Presentation by Manique Gunaratne 2

5. Speech by Sonali De Silva

6. Manique and Kanishka Weerasinghe

Manique Gunaratne

Tel. – 0094112867966


This year APWWDU celebrates its 5th anniversary as a key network of women with disabilities in the Asia Pacific. APWWDU has certainly gone a long way after the network’s formal launch at the Office of the Permanent Mission of Korea during its official side event as part of key activities of the CSW-57.

As a network that continue to commit, Asia Pacific Women Law & Development (APWLD) is assisting APWWDU members in organizing its annual meeting usually done back to back with key advocacy spaces. This year APWWDU opted to do its Annual Meeting back to back with 3rd. Asia Pacific Feminist Forum that APWLD organised at Hotel Empress in Chiang Mai, Thailand in September 2017. Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre who is also a member of the APWWDU together with Ms. Sonali De Silva from The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon participated at this workshop and annual meeting. In timing the meeting as such we were able to join other women, development and human rights organizations and advocates from different parts of the region in strengthening movements for development justice.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Preparatory meeting photo 3.

2 Day 1 banner.

3 Day 1 Manique at workshop.

4 Day 1 Manique speaking.

5 Day 1 participants.

6 Day 2 group photo.

7 Day 2 Manique.


8 Preparatory meeting photo 1.

9 Preparatory meeting 2.


Manique Gunaratne

The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon,

385 J3 Old Kotte Road,


Sri Lanka.



The 3rd. Asia Pacific Feminist Forum was organized by Asia Pacific Women Law & Development (APWLD) at Empress Hotel in Chiang Mai, Thailand in September 2017. Ms. Manique Gunaratne from The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre who is also a Committee Member of the Asia Pacific Women with Disabilities United (APWWDU) together Ms. Sonali De Silva from The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon attended the APFF. Everyone was able to join other women, development and human rights organizations and advocates from different parts of the region in strengthening movements for development justice. This participatory event brought more than 300 activists, Women Human Rights Defenders, Women with disabilities, academics, lawyers and global allies, facilitating the sharing of tools and resources, providing space for advocacy, strengthening capacities and inviting us to collectively strategies to build more power.

The Asia Pacific Women with Disabilities United (APWWDU) organized a side event to:

  • Reflect on achievements and challenges of women with disabilities in claiming rights and development justice.
  • Articulate what feminist development justice is from the perspective of women with disabilities (articulate grounding and principles)?
  • Appreciate key international human rights standards and processes and how this can continue to be relevant to the needs and realities of women /persons with disabilities.
  • Strengthen knowledge and capacities of women with disabilities in advocating for feminist development justice at the national, regional and global levels.

Women with disabilities are mindful of the need for a stronger articulation on gender and feminism in the disability movements and awareness and sensitivity on disability within women’s movements. This reflection comes from a careful appreciation of what they have achieved in terms of carving out spaces for their meaningful participation in setting standards of human rights from the perspective of feminism and disability and an awareness of the challenges they continue to face. Guided by what they bring into the feminist and disability movements was also the same grounding they had in carving out space for their participation in setting, implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. As they engaged in these spaces they are reflective of:

  • Current analysis of the situation and realities of WWDs in the region,
  • Existing policies and mechanisms that support the rights of and development goals women with disabilities at the national level;
  • Basic grounding development justice (given commitments in 2015), CEDAW, CRPD and the SDGs as standards and principles that guide their engagement
  • Need for reflection on what WWDs have gained in engaging in the SDG process and how to strengthening movements to push for this.

The APFF has been witness to the on-going reflection of women with disabilities as they commit and engage in crafting, implementing and monitoring the SDGs given their analysis of gender and disability based discrimination; and what it means to be grounded in feminist development justice.

In this year’s APFF WWDs got the opportunity to engage each other and the wider movement at the APFF of what it means for WWDs to be part of the growing movement on feminist development justice.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Conference day 1.

2 Day 1 group of APWWDU members.

3 Day 1 Manique and Sonali.

4 Day Manique and Sonali.

5 Day 1 Manique near the stage.

6 Day 1 with women with disabilities.

7 Day 2 APWWDU members.

8 Day 2 Manique speaking.

9 Day 2 Manique near the banner.

10 Day 2 Manique.

11 Day 2 participants.

12 Day 3 all participants.

13 Day 3 APWWDU group.

14 Day 3 group photo 2.

15 Day 3 group photo.

16 Day 3 Manique near stage.


17 Opening dinner.


Manique Gunaratne

Executive Committee Member – Disability Organisations’ Joint Front


In March 2012 Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon,   did a presentation on “How to include women with disabilities to the mainstream of development” at a workshop organized by the Disability Organizations’ Joint front and Ministry of Women Affairs at the Sri Lanka Television and training Institute. The Chief guest was the Minster of Women Affairs.


Manique Gunaratne

Vice Chair Person – South Asian Disability Forum


In April 2012 Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon went to Istanbul, Turkey to attend the Association for Women’s Rights in Development’s (“AWID”) International Forum meeting (the “AWID Forum. This meeting was hosted on behalf of AWID by Dekon Congress & Tourism at the Halic Congress Center.

AWID is an international membership organization with thousands of individual and institutional members in over 100 countries working towards gender equality worldwide. The AWID Forum is a triennial conference that draws women’s rights activists and development practitioners from over 120 countries. The conference is one the largest periodic events on women’s rights in the world outside the UN, and hosts over 2,000 participants.

Dekon Congress & Tourism provided services in destination management and did the logistical coordination of the AWID Forum. At the Forum, Ms. Manique Gunaratne was invited to speak at a panel organised by CREA, India.

CREA is a women’s rights organisation based in New Delhi, India. Ms. Manique Gunaratne did a presentation on “Disability sexuality and rights of women with disabilities”. There were 2500 participants from 140 countries.


Manique Gunaratne

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


Home Visits by vision impaired therapists for Therapy which covers various acute problems such as Headaches, Joint Pains, Fatigue, sleeplessness, Stiffness, Back pains etc.



Helps with Fatigue and Overall Weaknesses.

Improves Blood Circulation.

Reduces Stress, Anxiety and Depression.

Relief to Arthritis Sufferers.

Help with Stiff Neck, Shoulders and Backaches (Including Sciatica).

Helps with Coughs, Colds, Sinus and Respiratory Issues.

Helps to Maintain a Healthy Body.


These vision impaired therapists have also developed their ICT skills at The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, ICT Training & Disability Resource Centre.

For all your therapy requirements please contact:

Mr. Sandun Amila on 0779224192   0716351487

Mr. Priyantha Kosala on 0712696290

Mr. Pradeep Perera on 0716036359

Mr. Anusha Dissanayake on 0702517532

Mr. Wijaya Kumar on 0778680559

Mr. Aruna Mahesh Premachandra on 0779541435   0711061975


Manique Gunaratne

Founder Members Team – South Asian Women with Disabilities Network