July 1, 2011
Photo credit, above: Darcy Kiefel Photography
Over the past three months Ms. Manique Gunaratne, a MIUSA alumna from Sri Lanka who is blind, has represented women with disabilities in the international development arena throughout South Asia.
In March, Manique participated with other renowned disability rights activists, development aid donors and recipients in a three-day seminar in Norway to examine challenges of mainstreaming disability in internationally development programs and in civil society projects. Key topics discussed during the seminar included:
- The need for increased awareness of the two-way link between poverty and disability
- Lessons learned from other mainstreaming processes, especially gender and HIV/AIDS
In April, Manique led a seminar at the Count Me In conference in Nepal, which focused on violence against marginalized women in South Asia. The seminar, entitled Marginalized Among the Marginalized: Women with Disabilities Struggling for their Visibility, was attended by more than 300 artists, academics, researchers, journalists and representatives of non-governmental organizations.
In May, Manique led a training on Internet for Visually Impaired Persons at an international seminar organized by the Asian Internet Society and the Australian Internet Society. Access to internet is a priority issue for people with visual disabilities globally, as web-based information becomes prevalent, including: publications, networking tools and applications for education, employment and aid.
Finally, Manique’s article about her participation in MIUSA’s Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD) program, was published in the Daily Mirror.
Be on the lookout for Manique and her WILD Sisters during MIUSA’s 30th Anniversary Activities, happening all around the world this year!