Akasa

Services

Vocational Training Centre Talawa

Introduction

The majority of the people with disabilities living across the world face a number of social injustices. They suffer without being able to win their basic human rights. When it comes to economic, social, political and cultural strata, the people with disabilities are quite isolated. Their health and sanitation requirements are largely neglected. Especially the women with disabilities face a major injustice because of their disability as well as womanhood.

Sri Lankan situation is no exception. The Sri Lankan society maintains that the people with disabilities do not have the capacity to be independent and contribute to the social development. This attitude is a bar to study, train, be employed and sharpen skills. According to the National Policy on Disability published in 2003, the majority of the disabled people are among the poverty-stricken population of the country. The situation continues to worsen on grounds of poverty as well as social barriers.

service 01AKASA is the acronym for Abadha Sahita Kanthavange Sangamaya, which is Sinhala for Association of Women with Disabilities. Akasa could be introduced as a small social network to offer and widen opportunities for its members, who are disabled women. Akasa’s executive committee comprises disabled women and women with slow mental growth (only the ones who are fit to represent). Akasa makes use of women and men with disabilities as well as their families for the membership and programmes.
Akasa is located in Talawa, a remote hamlet in Anuradhapura district of north central province. Akasa was set up in Talawa following a national survey which indicated Anuradhapura as a district with the least number of opportunities for people with disabilities.
Akasa executes various programmes on the rights of people with disabilities. Vocational Training School is a special project. This school’s objective is to develop the vocational skills of women with disabilities and build an independent economy in the country. And Sri Lankan woman with disability can enter this school.

 

Objectives of the Vocational Training Institute

The training institute prevents the women with disabilities from facing economic, political, educational and cultural injustice, while offering them the equal opportunities, human rights through education and vocational training. This will create an appropriate environment for economic development and independent life for women with disabilities.

Administrative structure

Akasa Executive Board

Akasa Executive Board comprises 11 women with disabilities. All the programmes are carried out under the approval of the Executive Board. Vocational Training School is one such project.

Akasa President
Akasa Founder holds presidency of Akasa. The decisions, approved by the executive board, are implemented under her supervision.

Programme Director
Every Akasa project is carried out under the programme director’s supervision.

Principle Legal Officer
Principle Legal Officer is providing legal services, assisting with the drafting of legislative instruments and organizing advocacy programs on women with disabilities.

Vocational Training Instructor
The instructors look into course training at the Akasa Vocational Training School and other extracurricular activities.

Vocational Training Assistant
The assistants look into basic requirements of the resident students of Akasa Vocational Training School.

Students
All the students of Akasa Vocational Training School are women with disabilities. They will be enrolled for a two-year vocational training course.

Enrollment procedure
Any woman with disabilities in Sri Lanka can enter Vocational Training School. They should have following qualifications to enter the school. They will be enrolled following an aptitude test.

service 02Basic qualifications

  • Should be aged between 16 and 35.
  • Should be a woman with disability
  • Should be able to do things on her own.

Nature of the disability

  • Physical disability
  • Hearing disability
  • Speech disability
  • Slow mental growth

Required certificates

  • National Identity Card (if available)
  • Educational certificates (if available)
  • Copy of the Birth Certificate
  • GramaSevaka certificate
  • Medical report
  • Information, if she is under any treatment at the moment

Syllabus

Association of Women with Disabilities – Vocational Training School
service 03Sewing training course – syllabus

  1. Introducing equipment
  2. Maintaining hand equipment
  3. Basic charts and interpretation
  4. Introducing ingredients
  5. Safety
  6. Sewing education
  7. Sewing machine

Training procedure

  • service 04Basic sewing methods
  • Training in sewing
  • Cloth painting
  • Sari painting
  • Design copying
  • Handcraft
  • Gardening
  • Producing compost

Extra curricular activities implemented by the Vocational Training School

  • Participating in sports tournaments
  • Cultural programmes
  • Educational trips
  • Religious programmes

Sponsor institutes

  • service 05Social Services Ministry
  • Social Services Department, North Central Province
  • Lion’s Club, Anuradhapura.
  • North Central Provincial Council
  • Jayasheeli Trust Fund
  • Global Fund Institute
  • Vocational Training Authority

 

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Revolving Fund & Income Generation Programmes

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Process of Capital Disbursement
1. Transfer of capital from AKASA to the Divisional Association bank account.
- The signatories for the Divisional Association bank account are any 2 out of the 3 main Office Bearers of the Divisional Association (President, Treasurer, Secretary).
- The transfer usually takes place through multiple instalments, depending on the capacity development of the Divisional Association.

Process of Capital Disbursement (2)
2. Disbursement of micro-loans to members/beneficiaries.
- Each loan applicant must be proposed or counter-signed by two other members of his/her Small Group.
- The counter-signatories are meant to vouch for the viability of the applicant’s planned income generation scheme.
- Each applicant must support his/her request with 3independent quotations * from suppliers that demonstrate the use of the loan.

 

* exceptions are made when the loan is used to finance transport (for collecting firewood from the forest for the furnace) or labour (in case of crop cultivation) and other such heads where quotations are not possible.

- The application is moved up the chain of groups.
- The final selection of beneficiaries is made by the Divisional Association (or by their elected Executive Committee through delegation from the Divisional Association).

Process of Capital Disbursement (3)
2. Disbursement of micro-loans to members/ beneficiaries (contd.)
- The Treasurer maintains records of all loans disbursed.
- Funds permitting, each recipient is also given an individual passbook updated by the Treasurer.

Process of Capital Disbursement (4)
- 3. Repayment of loans
• Repayment terms – interest, payback schedule, etc. are set by the Divisional Association.
 Currently the interest charged is 1% per month (12% per annum vs. a market rate of 13% plus).
 The Divisional Association can set an interest- free period during the start-up phase of the business or while awaiting harvest season.
 The payback schedule is usually varied depending on the nature of the income generation scheme (seasonal schedule for agriculture-related schemes).
 Repayment is made to the Treasurer.
 The Treasurer maintains the repayment records and calculates the interest due.
 The Treasurer is limited in the amount of cash he/she can keep; anything beyond this limit must be deposited into the Divisional Association bank account within a specified number of days.

Process of Capital Disbursement (5)
- 3. Repayment of loans (contd.)
• The Groups at each level are responsible to monitor and support the income generation schemes of members under their area.
• They are also responsible to follow up on the loan repayments.
• This creates a support network as well as a structure to ensure accountability of repayment.

Capital Recycling
• Capital recycling/revolution/rotation
– Once sufficient capital has been repaid, the Divisional Association can start another cycle of loans to its members.
– The process followed is the same.
– In this way, the same capital can be used over innumerable cycles of beneficiaries.

As AKASA staff are no longer actively involved, AKASA recommends that the Divisional Association utilize some of the capital in running this programme.

 

Counseling Programs

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Sharing their experiences in a friendly manner to safeguard their rights. - 2009
(Legal Officer Bashyanthi Rajakaruna offering her services in a mutual manner with the students of AKASA)

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Stand beside them to secure their Rights-2013
(Legal Officer Bashyanthi Rajakaruna offering her services by conducting discussions with students of AKASA)

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(Legal Officer Bashyanthi Rajakaruna offering her services by conducting discussions with students of AKASA)

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Principle Legal Officer Mrs Bashyanthi Rajakaruna and guest lecturer Mr Buddika Lewkebandara (Attorney-at-Law) conducting a lecture and legal advising program to the parents and  the students of AKASA in year 2014.

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Principle Legal Officer Mrs Bashyanthi Rajakaruna and guest lecturer Mr Buddika Lewkebandara (Attorney-at-Law) accompanied with the executive staff of AKASA,  responding to the questions raised by the  parents and  the students of AKASA in the general discussion program based on legal issues in the legal advising program to the parents and  the students of AKASA in year 2014.

 

Distributed Assistive Device

Providing Wheel Chairs, Commode Chairs, Toilets & Hearing aids

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