Featured Participant: Vibhas SenBy Brian Canever March 20, 2018
The GSMP opened up my vision to see the bigger picture. It allowed me to organize and articulate my ideas more professionally. When people know you’ve attended a program like the GSMP it gives you extra credibility. Now people in my community believe in me and are excited to hear about my plan. The program also allowed me to meet like-minded leaders from around the world, exchange different ideas, and expanded my network so I can make an even bigger impact. The entire process was excellent. I am very motivated, and feel focused and determined to change the world
It only took Vibhas Sen a few months after returning from the 2017 GSMP: Sport for Community program to begin making his impact. An internationally-ranked wheelchair fencer, state champion swimmer, and community advocate for the power of sport in the lives of people with disabilities, Vibhas had spent his time on the program mentored by Mary Patstone and Dr. Cheri Blauwet of Spaulding Rehabilitation Network in Massachusetts. While at his host site, he developed the plan, “Sport: A Vehicle of Hope,” with the support of his mentors. The plan aims to combine adaptive sports, education, and technology to improve the quality of life of children with disabilities in Mumbai and across India.
Vibhas, who works a full-time job in digital marketing for Liqvd Asia, was able to successfully partner with Kooh Sports, an organization that has impacted more than 200,000 children through sports education in India. Together with this organization, he has developed a curriculum focused on physical education for children with disabilities in Indian schools. After creating a comprehensive project plan and proposal, Vibhas pitched to elementary schools in his community. While 10 showed interest, he selected the three schools with the largest population of children with disabilities and began working with 100 of these students in September 2017.
In addition to his Action Plan progress, Vibhas has been busy demonstrating the GSMP’s impact in other areas of his life. He continues competing around the world as a wheelchair fencer. In 2017, he was ranked NO. 53 in the world in men’s category A epee and No. 35 in the world in sabre by the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS). Outside of competition, Vibhas selected alongside two other international digital media experts to consult on social media strategy for the International Paralympic Committee. He has been assigned to promoting the growth of wheelchair fencing internationally, with a focus in Africa.
Since returning home, Vibhas has also been a sought-out speaker and has appeared in print and online media, sharing the story of his career and his time on the program. He has been a regular guest at the U.S. Consulate in Mumbai, speaking on panels about disability. Last May, he was selected to speak at the IWAS World Games in Portugal, and named the diversity and inclusion ambassador for MetLife India. Through this position, he assists in recruiting people of different ability levels, and once they join the team he will serve as a mentor. This position closely aligns with his Action Plan goals to serve as a sports diplomat and mentor in India advocating for people with disabilities.