In a first-of-its-kind programme, Enable the Disabled, together with the Millennium Toastmasters Club and in association with the Sri Lankan Council for the Blind, is chartering a Toastmasters Club for sight-impaired participants.
This would be a novel club for Toastmasters International and is set to be a groundbreaking event for Sri Lanka, as all the participants are being trained according to Toastmasters International standards. The club will be inaugurated on 13 December 2011, at 6 p.m. at the Palm Lounge, Galle Face Hotel.
Enable the Disabled was formed by The Management Club as its CSR arm not many years ago.
Its objective was to unearth the undoubtedly strong talents and abilities of disabled persons living in our country, giving them due recognition and endeavouring to bring such persons into mainstream society.
Two National programmes – the ETD Dirijaya Awards 2004 and the ETD Dirijaya 2005 – were held to recognise and reward those who reached standards of excellence in certain skills, overcoming all obstacles to reach a high pinnacle in each of these areas: performing arts, academic excellence, sports, entrepreneurship, professional excellence, most disabled friendly organisations and another very special award, service by a disabled to the disabled.
The programme was set on predetermined criteria, publicised islandwide in all three media – Sinhala, Tamil and English – and drew applicants from all around the island. The enthusiasm was unbounded and both Dirijaya Awards were highly successful in encouraging differently-abled persons to step forward and display their strengths.
Ten Speech Craft sessions have been conducted and finalised; the objective of enabling participants to improve their communication skills in the English language has been successfully achieved; and participants are enthusiastic and ready to go on their own, confident to face the challenge and proud to be recognised as the first blind Toastmasters Club.
Most of the participants are undergraduates and graduates and ETD pays tribute to them for overcoming the obstacles they would have faced in coping with the educational system and now striving to find employment. The Toastmasters Club would certainly arm them with the courage to speak with confidence in English as a first step in finding gainful employment.