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Tuesday, 11 December 2012

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Marks & Spencer supports disabled community

The Disabled community of Sri Lanka along with disabled world community, celebrated International Day of People with Disabilities, while Marks & Spencer joined hands to giving them the required support and strength.

On the invitation of Marks & Spencer, the Marks & Start steering committee organized events for the disabled community throughout the day, including the courage booster “Marks & Start Courage Walk- 2012” that took place conveniently with other events.

The motive of the Walk and other events was quite different to other walks organized by various institutions, which are normally fund raising events. Here, the motive was not fund raising, but empowerment of the disabled community by uplifting their physical and mental strength by recognizing their talents and achievements and facilitating employment opportunities within the network of Marks & Spencer and associated companies.

At this friendly walk of disabled persons, there were colourful and various placards, open trucks and employees of Marks & Spencer and affiliated companies who walked in line with the disabled community, as brothers and sisters.

Recognizing the skills and talents of the disabled persons, training them and offering employment opportunities to such persons in Marks & Spencer and affiliated companies should be greatly appreciated.

Delivering the welcome address, Senior Regional Compliance Manager of Marks & Spencer, Shabry Aher said, “I wish to thank our business partners who have joined hands with us in organizing this Walk. I appreciate very much, the support extended by our suppliers in providing employment opportunities to the disabled persons which enables them to uplift living standards.

"We started this programme in Sri Lanka in 2004 and I am happy to say that it had progressed from strength to strength.

By this time, there are about 560 persons with various disorders, who have found employment with our prestigious suppliers. Out of them, 72% are suffering from vocal and hearing disabilities, while 25% are with physical disabilities and the remaining 3% are completely or partially blind.

Marks & Spencer has commenced various programmes in association with the Foundation for the Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons, Vocational Training Seeduwa and the Sri Lanka Central Federation of the Deaf to train the disabled persons and guiding them to employment.

"I am privileged to make friends with many of you and to admire the achievements you have made through these programmes and I am happy to note that you are no more a burden to your family, friends or to this world any more and I appreciate your courageous efforts to be independent and your ability to strengthen your economic situation,” Shabry concluded.

One of the first to be employed under this programme, Ms. Manjula Sandamalie of Slimline Company, speaking at the ceremony said,” I am satisfactorily serving at Slimline Garments in Pannala for the last eight years.

All employees at Slimline, Pannala, from top to bottom, help me in every aspect to carry out duties satisfactorily. No one has ever rejected me over my disability but treat me friendly. I am proud of my achievement today and am thankful to my company, because everything has been possible, including feeding my beloved mother, because of the generous gesture extended to me by my company”.

The speciality of the day’s events was that priority or prominence was always given to the disabled during the day long programme.

Awards were presented to the organization that supported the whole programme and the contribution of the organizing committee was honoured with presentation awards,

The entertainment programme that featured leading artistes of Sri Lanka added colour to the day’s events. Even the entertainment provided by the disabled persons need a special mention.

The event was beautifully organized by Marks & Start steering committee under the guidance of Marks & Spencer Sri Lanka Country Manager Ms. Thushara Wickramanayake and under the leadership of Shabry Aher with the support Chamara and Shirantha of Quantum, Roshan Kelum, Indika, Gimhara and Ruwan of Brandix, Prasanna of Hela, Nadya of MAS Intimates, Sampath of Stylish, Aasiri and Saman of Hirdaramani, Deepal of Winterquilts, Dhammika and Nadeeka of Crystal Martin, Tharanga of Crystal Sweaters, Dharshana of EAM Maliban, Harshani and Gayan of CCL, Ruwan and Brian of Sintesi, Mithila of Miami,Sanjeewa of Union and Sampath of Vougetex.

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