Handloom Textile Weaving Centre
The Federation runs a handloom textile weaving centre in Demmanhandiya, for providing sources of income for some of the visually handicapped persons and their families residing at Nayanalokagama, close to Negombo. About 20 blind persons are engaged in weaving of handloom items. The products are marketed by the Federation and the workers are remunerated on a piece-rate basis. It is proposed to establish similar centres in other areas of the country especially where large groups of blind families live.
Items such as bedspreads, face towels, dusters, serviettes and curtain materials are produced at our handloom textile weaving centre and the Ceylon Government Railway Department, Ceylon petroleum Corporation and several other Private Sector Companies are among our main customers.
Manufacture of Medical Covers, Envelopes and paper bags
Manufacture of medical covers was commenced in 1998 utilising a binder press that had been donated to us by Rev. Fr. Bharethi. The paper (offcuts) too has been obtained from printing and label manufacturing organisations. The paper is cut and then given to visually handicapped members for folding and pasting for which we pay them an allowance. We supply medical covers to several pharmacies and delivered a consignment of 400,000 to the Department of Health Services.
In June 2001, we acquired a new electrical hydraulic die cutting machine financed by M/s Linea Clothing Co. Ltd and the project is also supported by the Norwegian Association of the Blind and partially sighted (NABP). Our new die cutter has capacity to cut around 60,000 envelopes per day.
More and more members are now engaged in manufacturing paper bags from paper supplied to us free of charge. 15 members are regularly obtaining supplies from the Federation and earning reasonable income.
Sri Lankan Airlines has assigned the SLFVH a special project for Coding Baggage Tags since 1999. This project is carried out by the Federation at our Handloom Textile Weaving Centre located close to Negombo. Six to eight of our members are engaged in this project and they derive a reasonable income from this.
The SLFVH has been regularly featured over the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation on the Sinhala and English services. The programmes were titled “Andureng Alokayata” and presently “Apith Oba Samaga” (we are with you) and “Radio Journal” on the English Services has featured the SLFVH on “Interview page” and the “One to One”. We also had a panel discussion on Capital Radio, in addition, to broadcasting several programmes over radio and television on “International White Cane Day”. Our main platform for creating public awareness is the print media and we endeavour to publicise regular reports on activities and achievements of the visually handicapped.