Vibhu Sharma

I am currently a student at the University of Edinburgh studying MSC Inclusive Education. Whilst I was completing my Under Graduation in English Literature at the St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi I convinced the board to provide question papers to the visually challenged students in an accessible format in Microsoft Word which allows them to write their answers independently on the computer with the help of JAWS. I was the first student in the country to have written my board exams absolutely independently as against the traditional practice of amanuensis. The enabling provision is now in place, and I am proud that my juniors are now availing and benefiting from this gigantic policy change that I had brought about. I have studied in the inclusive education system, and look forward to effectively contributing to persons with disabilities, especially, the visually challenged.

My areas of interest for work are education, equal opportunity, social and peer inclusion, besides proper and adequate mentoring for youth with visual impairment. I have represented the concerns of the visually challenged in several international conferences, such as those organized by the Spanish National Organization of the Blind, the World Blind Union, the International Council of Education for People with Visual Impairment, Asian Blind Union. I also represented India in the Fifth Session of State Parties to United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in a side event organized by Leonard Cheshire Disability.

I am a member of the Global Partnership of Education of Children with Disabilities Youth Council (UNICEF), since 2013, and currently serve as its co-chair, besides being a member of the Leadership and Mentoring Taskforce of the GPCwd. I have also been recently awarded an Associate Fellowship of the Royal Commonwealth Society and chosen a member of the Youth and Leadership committee of the World Blind Union.

I am joyous to join Include Me TOO as an Ambassador. Among the many objectives of the charity, the ones that are very true to my heart are ensuring and promoting equality and realization of rights for youth with disabilities. I am captivated by the fact that the organization enables provision of peer support and goes beyond the boundaries of international borders in making this available. I joined Include Me TOO, because these are values that I hold close to my heart. It is also important that they have a reasonable voice in all decision making relating to them, and that they are aware of the ways to voice their concerns. Include Me TOO, does just that; its objective is to ensure that these people have relevant involvement in decision making concerning them. What also fascinates me about Include Me TOO is its objective on increasing disability awareness, which is very essential, and which would be made possible by so many young people with disabilities coming together, and strategizing doing it and then implementing it in their countries. As an Ambassador, I would like to be involved in contributing to the fulfilment of Include Me TOO objectives. I would also aspire for Include Me TOO to initiate a mentoring programme where we mentor young people with disabilities to become advocates of issues concerning them.