Job Fair for the differently-abled
By Quintus Perera
The third Job Fair for the differently abled people – a commendable
initiative by the Employers Federation of Ceylon (EFC) in collaboration
with Motivation Charitable Trust, UK (MCT) -- again bore good results
at the Colombo Plaza Hotel last week.
of 100 persons, 37 were identified and selected on the spot for
various jobs in different companies. The balance 63 persons would
face 110 interviews as some of them would be facing more than one
interview. The annual fair held since 2003 enlightened the corporate
sector in increasingly recognising the talents and skills of these
people, who are otherwise overlooked as a group dependent on sympathy
the previous Job Fairs, there were 200 applicants and out of them
100 are now employed. The Sunday Times FT interviewed a cross section
of companies who were present to gauge the suitability of these
differently abled persons to work in their establishments. These
companies said that they have found that if suitable opportunities
are provided, these individuals would be more efficient, loyal and
honest and providing them with employment would be not only a help
for them but an asset to the employer.
42 companies came forward to offer places in their establishments.
C Madubhashini, a 28 year-old female from Maharagama is completely
paralyzed and gets about on a special, electronically-operated wheelchair,
handled by her leg. She has studied privately and passed her O Level
and also has gone through courses in computer operation, music and
also a comprehensive course in English. She was seeking employment
either as a telephone operator, computer operator or to work as
She has contributed verses to several Sinhala newspapers and said
that she could do journalism in English, if she could obtain some
training. Kelum Chandima, 27, from Moratuwa said that at the age
of 10 years he was playing with firecrackers and one cracker (Batta)
burst in his right hand and he thus lost all the fingers and the
is already employed as a telephone operator. But now with experience
he was hoping to better his prospects. He had faced several interviews
at the Job Fair and is certain that he would get a better place.
Mithraka Fernando, Head, Human Resources Development, James Finlays
& Co (Colombo) Ltd, said that they are more conscious of their
obligation towards society, and this was really felt after the tsunami
said that they have built 17 houses for homeless tsunami victims.
He said that it has become difficult to attract and retain people
in such positions as Inventory Controllers and they are keen to
recruit one of these differently-abled persons as they are confident
that they would be loyal apart from their high efficiency and integrity
Devasagayam, HR Manager, MAS Active of the MAS Holdings group, said
that they are part of a range of companies having around 30 factories
with a workforce of around 25,000 employees. He said that MAS Holdings
companies have recognized the versatility of these differently-abled
persons at work and in fact several of their factories have recruited
more than 30 of them.
said that five MAS Holdings companies were at this Job Fair and
were determined to select several of these people for employment
in their companies.
Stephens, HR Manager, Trans Asia Hotel said that this was the first
time they have participated in the Job Fair. She said, “It
is our obligation to look after this human resource as well and
I think they have lot of efficiency and intelligence inside them.
I do not think they are second to any one.”
She said that they have so far interviewed 10 differently-abled
persons and among them there were two undergraduates. One of them
was recognized and offered a job on the spot and the other two in
all probability would be recruited. She said that they have short-listed
five others and called for second interviews.
HR manager of a foreign commercial bank said that they have interviewed
five differently-abled persons and among them were graduates, too.
There was one person who spoke perfect English who is also A Level
qualified, she said. She said that he could be employed at their
call-centre where he would be able to answer the queries of the
said that they came across a person whose eyesight was little weak
and had been unable to find a job for five years. He is having his
‘A’ Levels and has done courses in German, English and
also a computer operation course. Out of the five they have interviewed
three potential candidates. She said, “We are looking beyond
their disability and try to understand their capabilities and talents”.