Account by Anya Vacha, the Youth leader and initiator of the event, Global Public School Kochi

“I want to swim….I want to sponsor….me too!!!!”, One month back walking through the school, these were the only lines one could hear. What started out as a simple discussion by a team of students, turned out to be GPS Swimathon 2019 .

On the third of August 2019, Global Public School, Thiruvanyoor, hosted Kerala’s first ever Swimathon. Done in partnership with the Special Olympics Bharat, the Swimathon was a charity fundraiser, and as the name suggests, students swam in order to raise money. What a fun and exciting way to raise it indeed. All the money will be donated to Special Olympics Bharat to support children and adults with intellectual disabilities in sports. The school saw all its students from grades five through twelve in the pool from 8.00 am to 1.00 pm. Parents and teachers were also out there making a splash. Indeed it was a splash that made its mark in the history of GPS.

With more than rupees 20,000 from on the spot registrations and funds collected from the food stalls and the game stalls, the school ended up raising almost 2.5 lakhs  

All things are possible for those who believe. And believe, we did. We Gypsites believe that we can always make a difference and indeed we believe we have made a difference.

With a heart-felt thank you to the Special Olympics Bharat and all those who believed in the Swimathon, we hope to continue this tradition for the years to come.

The carriers of a Unified Generation of tomorrow- The revolution is Inclusion and it is underway!

It was in the early 2019 that Anya, sibling of Andre Vacha (alumni of The International School Bangalore) expressed a desire to replicate Swimathon in her school- Global Public School Kochi. Through multiple correspondences and brainstorming over a couple of months the event emerged and delivered an overwhelming and humbling experience upholding the movement – Special Olympics.

Anya formed a remarkable team, received an approval from the school authorities to execute her plan at the Swimathon cum carnival. On Saturday 3 August 2019 in Kochi the school opened for the event and the celebrations opened with a brief assembly moderated by Anya. “Friends had it not been for Special Olympics the school would have remained closed as usual.” But the school did open, all the approx. 1000 persons including 800 students present there cheered for Special Olympics and felicitated the Special Olympics team comprising of three Athletes, representatives from the National and the State Offices

 The tremendous and overwhelming support and hospitality of Ms. Shamim Mohamed Head – Enrichment Programmes (School Advisory Committee) and Mr Sreekumar Kartha Dean and Principal Global Public School ensured a smooth run of the program. 240 Students and parents swam and were sponsored by friends and well-wishers. Some of the swimmers even completed 80 to 100 laps in one go. More than 3500 laps were collectively completed at the mega swimming event. The event renders on the website of the school. The inaugural laps were swam by three Athletes from the local Kerala Chapter- Adarsh, Sunny and Maneesha

In a meeting held later with the Dean the SO Bharat – Kerala state chapter deliberated over an onward plan that would encourage engagements between the local Athletes and the school community from time to time as part of the ESPN Unified Sports and Youth Activation. The Swimathon2019 at the GPS spread awareness about Special Olympics and is likely to pave the way for Unified Sports and whole school engagements under the leadership of a Youth team


  • Agastya Rana from The International School Bangalore, who is also the head boy of the school and led the Swimathon 2019 in his school joined the Special Olympics team for the event.
  • Meeting Liyana Fathima , a IXth grader GPS and a National Level swimmer for 4 years now. Whose last participation in the Nationals was in Pune, Maharashtra. She is gearing up for an upcoming event to be held in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh and promises to swim with the Special Olympics Athletes
  • Chance meeting with a Senior Representative from IB with a mention of sports coming in sharp focus by the board. In October 2018 it was announced during the World Academy of Sport (WAoS) session at the IB Global Conference in Vienna that student-athletes at IB World Schools will be supported in their dual career aspirations to balance sport and education concurrently

Team SO Bharat

Adarsh Athlete – SO Bharat Kerala
 Sunny Athlete – SO Bharat Kerala
 Maneesha Athlete – SO Bharat Kerala
 Jaimon Francis Coach- SO Bharat- Kerala
Sister Rani Joe Program Manager- SO Bharat Kerala
Ms Susila Kuriachan ID expert- SO Bharat -Kerala
Agastya Rana SO Bharat Youth leader- Bangalore
Simran Sahni SO Bharat Youth leader- Delhi
Raman Rekhi SO Bharat National Office

We are enthusiastic about joining hands with the Global Public School Kochi that stands for:

Global Vision and traditional Values