Mainstreaming Meaningful Disability Inclusion through Volunteering
Unlocked Team
24 February 2020

This article is based on an interview conducted with Mr. Kasunjith Satanarachchi. Being a part of the differently abled community and also being an advocate for the differently abled rights, Mr. Kasunjith has proven how much inclusivity is important in many aspects including in volunteerism. He graduated from the Staffordshire University in the UK and has been working to support organizations focusing on differently abled individuals. 


Inclusivity is supposed to be one of the most vital components behind Volunteerism. Therefore, cultivating a culture of inclusivity in the Volunteering Sector is imperative. Inclusive volunteering motivates volunteers commit for longer periods of time and has the ability to attract a wider pool of potential volunteers and skills.

The differently abled community is one such group that has proven to have so much untouched potential and it is important for Sri Lanka to understand it. Merely understanding this concern is not enough, they must be accommodated within the field of volunteerism in order to utilize their maximum potential.

Volunteerism has turned out to be a universal term. One of the most important recommendations that can be proposed to improve inclusivity in volunteerism is the development of an education system which has the ability to support and accommodate all differently abled people in the community.

Why is it important for these vividly skilled individuals to volunteer?

The general sympathetic perception towards the differently abled community, although out of bona fide intent, has been one of the main factors that has been hindering their advancement within the society. They can be very productive in their own fields of expertise and this is the best platform for them to demonstrate their worth to the world of work. They also deserve to gain the psychological satisfaction out of volunteering and they also deserve the opportunity to understand the World of Work.

However, it is the responsibility of the overall society to accommodate them as volunteers.

What must be done to ensure an effective level of participation of marginalized and vulnerable groups?


When mobilizing differently abled volunteers there must be a set of reliable mechanisms in place to provide them access to relevant locations during their volunteer assignments. The government has the ability to create rules and regulations enabling volunteer recruiting institutions to compulsorily put in place the relevant equipment and facilities before they recruit new volunteers. Disability friendly volunteering working arrangements must be identified and disability friendly working environments should be encouraged.


It is also important to make sure that the volunteers have a welcoming environment during their tenure of work. The recruiters and their co-workers can be trained to work with them under the following method. The government can make sure that the people who are working with differently abled volunteers have undergone special training and are sensitive to their needs and are fully capable of working with them. Carrying out workshops for volunteers in collaboration with organizations specializing on differently abled people can support this cause.

Mandatory Quotas

Differently abled volunteers are a disadvantaged group and there are certain instances where they are ill-treated because of this reason. Unfortunately, this can also be seen in the Volunteering Sector too. To overcome this prejudice, the government can implement mandatory quotas on recruiters to recruit a set percentage of differently abled volunteers compulsorily.

Volunteer Competency Assessments

The Volunteer Secretariat can monitor the competency of these individuals to make sure that the volunteer recruiters are getting the best they can obtain. Through assessing their competencies, the secretariat can also get a proper understanding of the skills, strong and week points of the volunteers.

Creating Manuals for the Employers to Deal with the Disabled

The government can get together with the experts in the relevant field and create guiding manuals or provide guidelines to institutions that recruit volunteers. These manuals can also be distributed among volunteers in order to make them sensitive towards these issues.

Online Volunteering

The promotion of online volunteerism is considered to be one of the most effective ways of improving inclusivity. Most of the members of the differently abled community have difficulties in moving from one place to another frequently and this has been, for the longest time, been one of the biggest demotivators for many volunteers. To overcome this barrier, it is possible for us to use Online Platforms to get individuals to volunteer.

Encouraging Institutions that Support Disabled Volunteers

Not just the volunteers, the government can also encourage institutions that recruit differently abled volunteers. This can be done using online platforms such as YouTube Channels by creating videos appreciating the institutions that are involved in recruiting differently abled volunteers. Other means of recognition can also be used such Awards Ceremonies. The government can also provide other forms supportive services to these institutions. Volunteer recruiters must be encouraged to issue certificates confirming the volunteer contributions of differently abled volunteers which will be proof to show that they are fit for the world of work.

In conclusion, the government should be more aware of these widely talented individuals and their contributions to volunteerism and most importantly the state should actively encourage inclusivity within the society. People should find different ways of working together as a community. Recognition and appreciation of these people will fuel their passion in volunteerism and this workforce will one day become the most significant stakeholders in a better inclusive future.

Most importantly we must understand that what they want is not our sympathy but for us to understand their situation and be empathetic towards them so that they can live like the rest of us in this society and be a lot more productive.

Unlocked Team
24 February 2020
About the team
Sanduni Kirindage studied at Musaeus College Colombo 7. She is an undergraduate who is currently following a diploma in International Relations at the BCIS. Furthermore, she is planning to do her degree in Sociology. Sandro Sathyajith is a full-fledged Public speaker and a demanded Professional Compere for many events. He completed his local Advanced Levels and is currently awaiting to start his LLB Degree. Whilst being fully employed as a lecturer, Prefects and Model UN coach, he is also the Producer and the Presenter of a brand-new TV show on Charana TV which focuses on bringing to light the ideas of youth on contemporary Sri Lankan issues overlooked by those in power. Kavindi Kithmihiri studied at Visakha Vidyalaya and strives to make a positive difference in the society. Chamika Wijeratne studied at Ananda College Colombo. He will be pursuing Bachelor's in Software Engineering from the University of Westminster UK.He is currently employed at Arimac as an intern.


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