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EFC partners Mobility International USA to host first Regional WILD Asia Program

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The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) and the Mobility International USA (MIUSA) are jointly implementing the Regional WILD (Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability) Asia 2018 in Colombo. The eight-day interactive workshop unfolding from 23 to 30 May is a first-of-its-kind to be initiated by MIUSAin Asia.

A US-based non-profit organisation, MIUSA is committed to empower people with disabilities around the world to achieve their human rights through international exchange and international development. MIUSA’s training sessions are fashioned to prepare people with disabilities to take leadership in advocating for inclusion across a wide range of sectors, including education, employment, micro enterprise, violence prevention, access to health care, technology and policy making.

The Colombo workshop will bring together 15 women participants with diverse disabilities. Four local participants will be joined in by representatives from China, India and Nepal. The participants have been selected through an ‘open application’ process and reviewed by a panel. 

The eight-day program, as the Manager of the Disability Network, EFC, and the local trainer for the WILD Asia, Manique Gunaratne affirms, is envisioned to be a ‘holistic’ exercise where the participants will exchange their experiences, and explore strategies to become catalysts of inclusiveness and change. 

“The main objective of WILD- Asia is to empower the delegates to become agents of change, by empowering them to give leadership to those with disabilities at the grass root level,” notes Gunaratne. 

The workshop which is also a celebration of diversity and mutual learning and sharing will bring under the spotlight the expertise of the participants in areas such as education, gender equality, economic empowerment, reproductive health and policy change. The workshop is also in tune with the EFC’s vision of promoting social harmony through productive employment. The EFC which is the national employers’ organization in Sri Lanka and the employer constituent for Sri Lanka in the ILO through its membership of employers drawn from a multitude sectors currently employs approximately 800,000 persons in the formal sector. 

“The EFC’s Network on Disability and its disability resource center have received global accolades as an exemplary model. The ILO Global Business Disability Network has consistently highlighted the achievements of the Network and its managing officer, Manique Gunaratne. The Network serves as a link between the business community and the organisations dealing with disability issues to facilitate mainstreaming its work,” remarks EFC’s Director General Kanishka Weerasinghe.

MIUSA CEO, Susan Sygall in a press statement, surmises: “MIUSA is honoured to host its first regional WILD in Sri Lanka, bringing together disabled women activists from this region who are passionate to strengthen their leadership skills and work for greater inclusion of women and girls with disabilities. Women with disabilities need to be recognized as leaders in both humanitarian and development efforts in this region and throughout the world.” 

The Regional WILD training will also feature the launch of MIUSA’s photo exhibition, themed Brilliant & Resilient: Celebrating the Power of Disabled Women Activists. The international traveling exhibition will feature portraits and vignettes of 30 women activists with disabilities from around the world. The WILD program is made possible by the support of Channel Foundation and MIUSA’s Women’s Leadership Fund.

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