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It is hard to find better stories about the power of friendship and the impact of volunteering than the one related to Navina Gyawali and Sangita Shrestha that together with group of peers, have started Supportive action towards humanity (SATH), a new not for profit working in the field of social inclusion.

The mission of the organization is bridge the gap between blind and sighted people through an open and exchange platform where people with different abilities can socialize, interact, embrace and accept each other.

It is a story of partnership when peers come together thanks to a volunteering experience that changed their lives.

It is also a story of courage because SATH, a brainchild of Nabina, a social inclusion activist that recently concluded her experience with Kanthari, a great incubator of promising and inspiring social innovator based in Kerala, could set the example to many other ventures.

I met Navina several years ago and I was impressed by the power of her positive thinking, sheer determination and willpower to create a more inclusive and just society for youth living with visual impairment, a condition that has affected her since birth.

Her life trajectory, her quest for dignity, respect and empowerment brought her not only to successfully complete a Master in Sociology but also to pass the Teacher Commission Service Examination and win a Fulbright Scholarship that allowed her to study at University of Southern Indiana.

There Navina could fully immerse herself into local culture, building a new level of confidence about her potential and a greater sense of the goals she could achieve in life.

As a real fighter and driven person, Navina wants to serve her country, creating more opportunities for youth with visual impairment by connecting with peers living with disabilities.

Throughout all life’s ups and downs, Navina now mastered the “art” of grit, the combination of passion and perseverance to achieve new goals.


Navina knows firsthand how hard is to change people’s mindsets.

As she was progressing in her studies, she shared that she had I discovered a new form of subtle humiliation. “People started praising me for little things. I understood that this is an equal form of discrimination. It is based on the deeply rooted mindset. By overly praising little steps, the opportunities for bigger achievements are blocked.”

These experiences pushed Navina to challenge herself and set the bar high.

Here Sangita enters into action: a young social work professional studying a master sociology, she was an ENGAGE Corp member, serving for a year with ENGAGE, working in partnership with peers living with visual impairment through a reciprocal learning experience.

It happened that Sangita was matched with Navina and from there, they started working together and a friendship was born.

Over the last three years, Navina and Sangita have been in touch, corresponding through social media and catching up face to face whenever possible.

Sangita is driven by a strong sense of equity and soon after the completion of her undergraduate studies in social work, she interned at Blue Diamond Society and at the United Nations.

Embedding the spirit of volunteerism on daily basis through activities like mentoring younger girls at Nice Foundation, Sangita became one of cofounders of SATH where she sits in the board of directors in the capacity of treasurer.

With Sangita, a very capable professional without disabilities, SATH is creating a truly inclusive governance system based on friendship, commitment and common passions.

If Navita is the driving force behind the new venture and Sangita is one of the key players, there are many important friends and advisors, supporting the new organization, including senior activists and experts like Birendra Pokharel, founder of ADRAD Nepal and social entrepreneur ChiranJeevi Poudel of Seeing Hands Nepal

Navina, Sangita and other members of the team know that it won’t be easy to run SATH.

They are aware that it will be an uphill struggle because of general lack of funding and an overcrowd sector plenty of effective but too small organizations who struggle to scale.

Yet the SATH team is going to give its best and try very hard and be sure that they are here for the long run!

The first activity to be run by SATH will be Tick Tick bites in which blind and partially sighted will be taught in baking and cooking and preparing healthy snacks with unique international flavors.

The story of Navina and Sangita is a great example on how a simple volunteering experience where learning is reciprocal and mutually beneficial, can lead to a real positive partnership that has the ambition to change the society. Best of luck SATH team

Galimberti is the Co-Founder of ENGAGE, an NGO partnering with youths living with disabilities. He can be reached at

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

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