If I sat down with you on New Year's Eve and told you that this is what 2016 may look like, you would’ve probably said, “Sharad, I love you and your team... but, these… these are big dreams. They’re too big and too many and there’s no way you guys can do all of this in one year. You’re being too optimistic.” And, look at where we stand today. We stand here today reflecting on a year when DexConnect continued reaching over 400,000 young students in Bihar and Jharkhand through our pioneering newspaper partnership with Dainik Bhaskar, DexChallenge alumni continued to achieve big and make it to top colleges across the world on full scholarships, DexSchool saw its most selective and inclusive class year graduate and D2C saw 9 million in scholarships and a special D2C Scholars fund being set up at a major college in the United States. We stand here today reflecting on a year in which we jogged with Michael Phelps, shook hands with Barack Obama, got tweeted at by Sir Richard Branson, danced with Halsey and Jason Derulo at the Forbes 30 under 30 Summit and joined the Royal Family of Norway at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony. We stand here today reflecting on a year in which we made Dexterity platforms free for kids suffering from Thalassemia and gave full financial aid to every single D2C fellow who came from a flood-affected region. Today, we reflect on a year in which we received over 3 million social media engagements and your continued love and support each day. We reflect on hope today, we reflect on change and purpose.
It was hope that led to the founding of this great organization and hope that brought us all together to apply all that we had learnt (and learn all that we could apply) to make this world just a little better each day. It was hope that got us started in the first place and hope that has kept us running ever since. And, we thank you for inspiring this hope in us each day.
At the D2C bootcamp last year, we witnessed some bright young high school students identify some of the most serious global challenges and share their larger vision for the world. They outlined their own personal goals and told their own personal stories and in the process reflected and shared why they wanted to go to college and what they hoped to do after. We met a young girl at the camp who shared how different she was from others and yet so similar. She shared how she was born in a hospital like most other kids but had to stay there for three more years because her dad worked there and that was the only place she could call “home”. She shared that while her “home” may have looked different and her financial background may not have been so sound, her dreams were no different than those of any other teenage girl. She shared the story of her family’s struggle and her own eventual successes. She shared how she fought hard to win scholarships, did well in school, participated in debates and other competitions and one day hoped to pursue a medical degree and make healthcare better and more affordable for everyone. I was there in person, my voice choking, my inner self shaken, my outer self trying to hold my tears back, when I looked around and found not a single eye that wasn’t wet. That’s not just her story, that’s our story, the great Dexterity story; the story of all things being possible no matter who you are, where you were born and what your parents did; the story of your hard work and dreams and merit dictating your destiny not your inheritance or zip codes or family incomes. In her, the bright young girl from my own hometown, I see hope. And, in all those who graduated in the previous class I see change. When I know that D2C fellows who came in before her received 9 million in scholarships last year from top colleges across the world, I sense hope for this bright girl and her big dreams and I sense change for everyone who will come in after her.
In a landmark decision, Tufts University in the United States of America, one of the world’s most prestigious academic institutions announced a special D2C Scholars Fund for our D2C Fellows. I can only imagine how deep an impact and how encouraging a news it must be for each one of our young boys and girls, young students with a dream for themselves and their motherland who aspire to study at the best institutions across the world and make this world a better place to live in. They have good grades and they work hard but what keeps them away from these top institutions is the lack of resources and the lack of guidance and support. With D2C, we’re changing that. With this announcement, it gets even better. I can not wait to see the first D2C Scholar start college next year. And, we can not wait to work with other prestigious institutions across the world and get similar funds set up at each one of these colleges. And, that’s our purpose. Our purpose is to power the next generation of leaders through educational opportunities. We envision a 2025 and a 2035 when young graduates from Dexterity platforms will be truly shaping the world. The next President of World Bank, the next Secretary General of the United Nations, the next Prime Ministers and Presidents, the next generation of scientists and engineers and doctors and entrepreneurs are in a classroom today and we’ll work as hard as they will till we make sure that every hurdle is cleared and every dream is achieved. That’s what our hope is and that’s what change will look like and that’s the purpose that makes us do what we do today. In the face of all those who graduated DexSchool last year and those in the years before, all those who have grown with D2C ever since its inception and those who we have met at DexChallenges, all those who wake up every morning DexConnected and all those who are yet to undergo their first Dexterity platforms, we see this generation of leaders. We see the Dexterity Generation.
We advanced each one of our four platforms last year and some advancements are still in work. We initiated successful conversations with two state governments in India to DexConnect every single government school so that the same opportunities that you see on the web, in the press and in some of your classrooms will now be on the walls of every single government school classroom. Beginning this academic year, DexConnect will get even cooler. Guess what? DexConnect is joining Facebook, and Twitter, and even Instagram. DexChallenge has evolved and we can’t wait to introduce you to the platform you’ve loved back ever since 2008. And, guess who’s celebrating the BIG 5th birthday? DexSchool turns 5 this year and continues to be as amazing and as inspiring an experience as ever. Some friends in the media like to call it the Harvard Business School for 14-year-olds and I can not disagree with them anymore. I would just like to congratulate the 160 DexSchool graduates from all class years who have received a whopping 9 crore INR ($1.5 million) in scholarships from all across the world and are continuing to do some incredibly cool and meaningful things in their careers and through their own startups and offices. And, for D2C, we embark on our major outreach program where we will go to the remotest of towns and villages and introduce our young boys and girls and their parents to this platform and connect them to this great high school to college transition platform.
As a new academic year begins, we’re excited and inspired and looking forward. Let’s continue to win together and fight together. Let’s continue to walk together and fly together. Let’s do this together! There’s more work to be done, the next generation of leaders are here.
Thank you everyone! Thank you so much.
Founder and CEO
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