Duskin Leadership Training in Japan

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Marks & Start Project

Strong hands - Strong mind - Strong heart

We would like to share our happiness with you regarding that valuable support from Marks & Spencer, They giving us a golden chance to approved that “Juki machine apparel training center” project and have a meeting and agreement with them on 2014-01-02 at Marks & Spencer office. We found that meeting and agreement is very constructive and useful for us to have an idea about the ways that Marks & Spencer can collaborate with our deaf association to support for develop capacity of deaf people.

The Sumaga Ruhunu Circle of the Deaf (SRCD) is a registered local non-governmental, non-profit and charitable organization established initiated in 1996 to assist vulnerable and marginalized deaf members of the community, particularly deaf children, Deaf school leavers and people with disabilities. The overriding aim if the organization for everyone regardless of age, gender, disability ethnicity or income. Our aim is to improve the inborn talents of the deaf and thus acquire a free and peacefully living standard in the society. We envision our future to have a “Prosperous Deaf Community”. Our Organization is registered as a voluntary non-government organization and affiliated to the National Council of Person with Disabilities & there has 417 deaf members in southern province among Galle, Matara and Hambantota district. We are an organization for the deaf by deaf. Throughout our work since 1996 we have identified number of problems which are faced by deaf people in many different ways.

Below are some of the main problems which we are looking forward to address to support to these group of people to come up in their lives.

□ Lack of facilities and chances to have vocational training.

□ Negative attitude towards deafness and disability

□ Lack of job opportunities and accessible facilities for jobs

□ Unawareness of sign language which has become a main barrier to communicate with others

According to the perspective there is a very good opportunity for deaf people to find jobs in garment sector in Sri Lanka. Unfortunately they are not skilled enough to apply for those jobs. By implementing this project we are aiming to minimize this gap and enable deaf people to have job opportunities. Even though we trained people still we find it very difficult to find job opportunities for deaf people. As most of people do not have clue about sign language it has become a difficult situation to find a job. Apart from the negative attitudes towards disability deaf people are not encouraging to work in an organization where they do not have a welcome.

As far as concern to the other disabilities, this issue has occurred to increase the level of unemployment among deaf adult in Sri Lanka. World famous “Marks & Spencer” company donated us with 3 Juki machines under their project called “Marks & Start” by considering this whole issue and its laid the foundation for us to provide Job training (Garment stitching) program for some of our deaf members on 2012 year. Since our association is maintained on the membership fees of our members, it was difficult for us to conduct training on sewing though we had machines. Because we had no financial capital to have an instructor on sewing and other necessary physical resources. Nevertheless, on the greater attempt made by the President , Jukie machine training programme was initiated at very small scale with the participation of 3 deaf persons on 21st June 2013.

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Management of the office and paying salary for the sewing instructor was a great difficulty we faced in functioning this programme. In the year 2013 Mr. Kasun Jayathunga was elected as the President of Sumaga Circle and his main aim was to properly conduct this sewing course for the wellbeing of the deaf persons. But this course had to be stopped at one occasion due to the unavailability of financial capital for the management of our association.

Nevertheless it was the firm idea of Kasun, the newly elected President the Circle has enthusiastic members who can be referred for job opportunities through the Juki machine training. Then it was discussed how to conduct a proper Juki machine training and in that discussion our Sign Language Instructor Mr. Kelum Indika also participated and it was said that the above mentioned 3 Juki machines were given to us by Marks and Spencer, That time Mr. Shabry Aher who is compliance manager of M&S was contacted over the phone and made him aware of this sewing training course, issues and difficulties in this process. Furthermore the President discussed with Mr. Shabry through email and skype about the sewing training course of the Circle. In the month of August 2013 President, Treasurer and Coordinating Officer Mrs. Daya Jayawickrama visited the office of M&S. There it was openly and deeply discussed about the Juki machine sewing training and related issues and also the future of the training.

At that discussion Mr. Shabry has informed Mr.Kasun to prepare a project report on Juki machine training for deaf persons for a period of two years. Considering all above mentioned problems Kasun has drafted a proposal to find a helping hand to support to overcome from these problems for these deaf people. It’s a big challenge to Kasun after that he completed Duskin Leadership training in Japan on 2009 year; this was his first Project proposal which is start with Sumaga ruhunu Deaf organization. As an alternative for this troublesome matter, the prior objective of this proposed project is to lay the foundation needed to refer these deaf and hearing impaired members 80 will get Juki machine training to start their career in garment field in the southern province of Sri Lanka. Also we will be aiming to improve the sign language communication skills in staff of vocational training institutions and team of garment factories in Southern province of Sri Lanka. In addition to that we will be carrying out awareness program for other employers to change their attitude towards deafness and disability. It was much helpful for project activities of our Circle.

Sumaga Ruhunu Appreal Training school was declare opened on 30th of October 2014.

We would happy to arrange a very successfully official opening ceremony on 31th October 2013 with invitees of Country Manager - Ms.Thushara Wickramanayake and Mr. Shabry Aher - Senior Compliance Manager, Marks & Spencer, Sri Lanka and all of Managers and Human resource manager of Brandix, Voguetex, Perfect garment, Nobleswear factories, which is southern province Marks and spencer suppliers & we donated 13 Juki machines from all of them.

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We Celebrated the Most Memorable Day of Our Organization from past 16 years, because Mr.Shabry informed Marks & Spencer did accepted our one year project of Continue Sewing machine training for deaf community and provide us GBP 3500 financial assistance for this project for fully covered monthly running cost of training center, staff cost, Student training materials, Provide traveling expenses for trainees, and etc. Also we received 13 of Sewing machine from southern province Marks & Spencer suppliers; it’s really encouraged for us to continue this training for large numbers of Deaf trainees.

  • With the financial assistance provided by Marks @ Spencer, from January 2014 we, Sumada Circle could successfully conduct the Juki machine training course which was continuously conducted from October 2013.
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Activities done for the period from January 2014 to July 2014.

01. 20 qualified deaf youths were recruited for Marks & Start Sewing machine project in the first week of January. For the purpose of obtaining information of deaf youths aged between 17 – 40 years for the training under this project, we took necessary measures to make aware Divisional Secretariat of Matara, Social Service Officer, Principal of Rohana Special School, and Principal of deaf school of Tangalle under the fullest sponsorship of Marks & Start project.

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  • According to the information of unemployed deaf persons obtained in this manner, an awareness programme was held on 05.01.2013 and 10 new trainees could be recruited.
  • Mr. A. Munsif was recruited for the post of Sewing Instructor and appointment of Sewing Instructor was given to Mr. Upul Nishantha and appointment letter of permanent post of Coordinating Officer was given to Miss. Daya Jayawickrama. (Everything of this project are done by deaf persons and all these officers are deaf persons except sign language translator).
  • On 12.01.2014 parents meeting was held with the participation of Hon. President, Secretary of Sumaga Circle, Miss. Daya Jayawickrama – Project Coordinator, Translator, Mr. Kelum Indika - Sign language Instructor. At that meeting parents were made aware of Jukie machine training and other benefits provided by circle, Marks @ Spencer organization and 04 garments (Nobels Wear, Wog Tex, Brandix and Perfect Garment of Dickwella) to which trainees will be attached after the training.
  • Even on 15.01.2014 an awareness programme was held and new trainees were recruited.
  • From January 2014 this juki machine sewing training course was successfully conducted for the trainees of Sumaga sewing training school using sign language under the guidance and instructions given by 02 deaf sewing instructors who have become experts in this field.
  • Furthermore immediately after been qualified for the post of Juki machine operator, these trainees are placed for jobs from the month of January.
  • On Sunday the 26th of January of 2014 another programme was held with the participation of parents of all trainees regarding positive thinking, discipline and attitude development.

Another workshop was also conducted on 09.02.2014 for the recruitment of new trainees.

On 16.02.2014 another one day workshop was held for the purpose of discussing issues and problems of trainees who undergo the Juki machine training (under the Marks @ Spencer programme). In that workshop it became to know that after the training period of three months, the trainees need to find a job opportunity due to their financial difficulties. As a solution for this, necessary measures were taken to attach such trainees with financial difficulties to jobs during the training period itself.

  • General Meeting of Ruhunu Sumaga Circle of the Deaf was held on 23.02.2014 and at that meeting an introduction was made on Marks @ Spence organization and Marks @ Spence Juki machine training project.
  • On 02.03 2014 the first awareness programme on Marks @ Spencer in Wog Tex garment was held. Several staff members of Voguetex including Mr. Sampath - Human Resources Manager participated in this programme. For our Circle 08 trainees, Hon. President of our association, Mr. Kelum – Sign Language Instructor and Mrs. Malika Darshani participated.

This was the first time of that institution of recruiting deaf persons and therefore they were made aware of how to deal with these deaf persons and identify the culture of the deaf. All persons who made speeches in this workshop told that deaf youths involve in their jobs very cleverly.

Even our trainees described some difficulties and problems faced by them in their new working places. Many problems were related to salaries, welfare affairs, leave etc. Sign language coordination was provided by Mr. Kelum Indika.

This workshop was conducted very successfully. Since the main and only medium of communication of the deaf is sign language, deaf persons requested to provide a sign language translator for their working places. At that point the President of Sumaga circle promised to provide such a sign language translator from the circle when necessary. That occasion was also a very happy day for our deaf members. Their problems could also be solved through sign language.

Photograph of Weligama Workshop

Mr. Shabry Aher – Manager of Marks @ Spencer, Managers of Brandex, Nobel wear, Wog Tex of Weligama, Perfect Garment along with Kasun Jayathunga – Hon. President of Saumaga Circle, Mrs. Daya Jayawickrama – Project Coordinator and Mr. Kelum Indika – Sign Language Instructor observed the activities of the first stage of Jukie machine project which started in January 2014.

  • Recruitments for the second stage of Jukie machine project of Marks @ Spencer started from 23.03.2014.
  • On 24.04.2014 workshop for recruiting new trainees was held and Ruhunu Sumaga ladies hostel started.

Two coordinating officers from Navajeevana institution of Tangalle, Mr.W.S. Amarasena – District Social Services Officer participated in this workshop. About 10 new trainees were recruited. At the request made by parents of deaf young girls of remote areas, Ruhunu Sumaga hostel was opened. 06 Juki machine female trainees and female warden of the hostel occupy in this hostel. This hostel is also another prestige provided by Marks @ Spencer organization. We could recruit deaf female trainees from very remote areas as a result of this opening of hostel.

Photograph of Hostel opening.

  • Awareness workshop was conducted on Marks @ Spencer Jukie machine training project for deaf persons from Hakmana and Kirinda areas with the coordination of Navajeevana institution of Tangalle which was established for multi disabled children.

Although a large number disabled persons had attended this workshop, only a small number of persons were qualified for the recruitment of Jukie machine training course. Because it is difficult to use deaf parsons with retarded mentality in this Jukie machine training course. But it was decided in this workshop to recruit even deaf person with other disabilities who can operate Jukie machines.

  • It is expected to recruit persons with other physical disabilities for marks @ Spencer project soon after the selection as ordinary sewing instructor.
  • About 07 of our trainees could be placed for jobs for Perfect garment of Dickwella and Nobel Wear by the last week of May.
  • On 22nd day of June, information of disabled persons was obtained from district secretariat and according to such information they were convened to Sumaga office on 23rd of June and made aware of Marks @ Spencer project.
  • Furthermore on 22nd of June, sign language instructions were given to those who had faced some problems within the Wog institution of Weligama. They were also made aware through the correct counseling not to give up their jobs.
  • Another awareness programme was held on 29th of June 2014 to make aware persons who were placed for jobs on the importance of sign language and positive attitudes since they have weaknesses in comuunication.
  • Further by the second week of August about 20 deaf persons and some other persons with multiple disabilities were recruited and it is also expected to successfully continue the project.
  • List of trainees who were recruited for Ruhunu sumaga apperal school from January 2014 to June 2014 and job placements during such period are given below.

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