ENGAGE’S apology to Sagar Prasai. When accessibility is a right, Full stop

Full Text Sharing

Dear Sagar

Through this open letter, we at ENGAGE would like to personally and unconditionally  apologize to you for not being able to assure your participation to our lecture program on Inclusive Education held last Friday.

We really owe you this apology.

For the readers: ENGAGE is a small organization working to promote inclusive volunteering. Basically we believe that volunteerism can be a powerful platform not only to help persons living with disabilities but also to empower them to be agents of change.

Last Friday we organized, as part of our capacity building experience for our  new batch of volunteers, (we call them ENGAGE Corps) a program on inclusive education. The program was delivered by a friend of us Dev Datta Joshi, Open Society Scholar who recently returned from a LLM on disability law.

About Sagar: Sagar Prasai is a social activist, disability rights promoter, writer, motivator, positive thinker and probably much more. (You can have more information about Sagar at http://www.sagarprasai.com.np/. )

He recently set up Sangai Hami (Together We), a nonprofit organization registered in Nepal with the main motive of bringing people with and without disabilities together, a mission that also ENGAGE shares.

To make the story short, we had invited Sagar to attend the lecture convinced that he could greatly contribute to the debate and also be a source of inspiration for our Corps.

I sent him an e-mail with the invitation and Sagar promptly replied asking if the venue was accessible. Unfortunately the venue was not and I did apologize for that  explaining that we were basically “making do”, we did not have a budget to rent an accessible place,  that the event was hosted by a partner organization who kindly had agreed to host it  given the fact that  ENGAGE own  office is absolutely not adequate to run this kind of public program.

In my reply I also said that we would arrange a way for Sagar to be “carried over” the lecture room that was located on first floor. I thought it was not a big deal.

Here the reply given by Sagar:

“I am sorry Simone, I don't want to be carried. That will be opposite of everything I am doing.

Also, just my request, if you are doing programs related to disability in any way, please make sure it is in ground floor or there are other dignified ways of getting in,



Sagar was totally right, I could not find any excuses but I felt to reply in the following way:

“I was wondering if sending or not the invitation given the inadequacy of the place but then I thought of you as an expert, as a civil rights activist that could have contribute to the debate greately. I knew you might have reacted, again, rightly in this way but I thought of you not in terms of person living with disability. I did this in good faith, really but again there are no justifications.

My apology again



At ENGAGE we have the big ambition to try to make the society more inclusive, offering opportunities of empowerment for persons living with disabilities and we also want to create awareness among able bodied persons about disabilities.  This is a great lesson for me and for my team. I never spent time on a wheelchair and I have no idea what you feel when you “are carried”. I now trust Sagar’s feelings about it, the lack of dignity he feels when places are not accessible and there are no other ways than carrying the persons. Sagar took the right position and this reflects his determination and willpower.

Dear Sagar and all other friends who have no physical mobility

Please accept mine and ENGAGE’s unconditional apology about what happened. The context and circumstances should never justify such lack of sensitiveness. It is  a violation of basic human rights, it is all about truly being emphatic and put ourselves in a wheelchair and think about it.

Looking forward to constructively working with you and with Sangai Hami


On behalf of ENGAGE Team



For more information about Sangai Hami, http://www.sangaihami.org/


Position: Co -Founder of ENGAGE,a new social venture for the promotion of volunteerism and service and Ideator of Sharing4Good

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.