Opportunity and accessibility to volunteer
Bandini Jayasena
14 November 2019

Inclusive Volunteerism can be considered a great initiative and a timely need. In the hope of improving inclusivity in volunteerism, it is possible to suggest a plan to identify volunteering activities that vulnerable groups can participate, so as to facilitate strengths of the participants and also maximize their participation. More attention can be given to the possibility of including people with mental health issues as well in the volunteering sector.


Volunteering can be incorporated in different fields of work. For instance, it is possible to build up a network with allied healthcare professionals such as speech and language therapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and audiologists to recruit their clients as volunteers and to incorporate volunteering activities as part of intervention for these clients. Furthermore, it is also feasible to collaborate with these professionals to train hosts/organizers on how to work with people with special needs.

One of the main reasons for the lack of inclusion of persons with disabilities in volunteering is the lack of accessibility. Therefore, accessibility i.e. infrastructure, transport and assistive devices for persons with disabilities can be improved in a way that they are able to engage in volunteering activities without difficulty. Also, trust building/ team building/ confidence building activities can be recommended for volunteers with special needs.

Mr. Ananda Guruge, who won the National Volunteer of the Year Award in 2013 is a volunteer with hearing impairment, who has inspired thousands like him to find a better life.

Children, women and persons with disabilities are considered vulnerable individuals in this context. One major factor that demotivate these groups is the lack of security and safety in volunteering. On those grounds, it is possible to assume that ensuring the safety of children, women and disabled engaged in volunteering can have an impact in their engagement in the long term.

As a final thought, volunteers, by virtue of them being volunteers, do not expect any form of recognition. However, as a responsible society, it is the society’s responsibility to make sure that their efforts are duly recognized. For that, a mechanism to reinforce every volunteering attempt by such volunteers (a reward system) can be suggested.




Bandini Jayasena
14 November 2019
Bandini Nisala Jayasena is a Lecturer in Audiology attached to the Department of Disability Studies, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya since October 2013. Her expertise include, assessment and management of hearing impairment in children and adults, assessment and management of learning difficulties in children. While being an experienced medical professional she also finds chance to volunteer. She has served as a volunteer audiologist at Ratmalana Audiology Centre and as a Volunteer psychologist at Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children. She is also a Green volunteer for Greenspine Reforestation Program and Aurora Sri Lanka.


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