Everything we’ve worked for during this programme has come down to this final day. This was it. Our chance to convey our project, our ideas, and persuade the judges. But who were they?
Programme Coodinator of UNDP India; Senior Project Manager of British Council (North India); Dean of OPJG University; CEO of DesiCrew; and Global Managing Partner of ThinkThrough Consulting.
We used every remaining hour of the morning as a team to finalise our presentation and speeches, and to reassure each other of our knowledge of the project. The hours, minutes and seconds soon passed and it was time to take our seats. The cameras were poised, the judges were seated and introductions has started. One by one, each team had their time to shine, all pitching their ideas with precision and confidence. Being the last team to present, naturally nerves accumulate and doubts begin to pollute your mind, but we remained composed.
Next up, our team. We were summoned to the stage by Prof. Rohini Sen and so we took our places and prepared to present, the judges eyes all fixed in our direction in anticipation of the presentation.
Once the pitch and Q & A sessions were over, all teams reconvened by the audience to congratulate each other and breathe a sign of relief while the judges disappeared to discuss the teams’ respective projects. We each received awards for completion of the project and this was an opportunity for us to relax and take group photos.
Moments later, the judges returned and solemnity with them. Silence fell upon the auditorium as the results were announced. EduRoam (our project) was called first, we were elated with the position of runners-up. The results were more than what we expected. Of course, we were somewhat disappointed that we were so close to the pole position, but we were more than happy with everything we had achieved over the 10 days. It was at this point that we truly understood what it meant to appreciate the ‘journey’, and not just the ‘destination’. The relief forced us to reflect upon how far we had come, what we had learnt, and how much we had developed – both in knowledge and in personal characteristics.
Once the winning project, “Sashakta”, was announced, we were invited by the Dean of the faculty at OPJG to his garden on the opposite side of campus to attend a formal celebratory dinner. But before that, I made a short speech on behalf of the University of Southampton students and the entire institution, to thank OPJG University for hosting us and this fantastic challenge (that it certainly was!); to reflect upon our journey from beginning to end; and to express our gratitude to the students we worked with throughout our time here – including those that were roped in from outside the ISIC-15 group; and to express our hopes that all the friendships we had made in such a short space of time, would remain for years to come.
Only then did we realise it was over. Our 10 intense yet incredible days were over. The time had flown by!
We thought we could finally tell each other that “our work here was done”… but when we returned to Enland, we received contact from the students in our team and the Associate Director of the Jindal Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship (JSiE) informing us that our project, as second place, was deemed plausible enough to receive starter funding as well as the first place project. The award-winning crowdfunding platform, HelpingB [see below], has agreed to assist us in establishing EduRoam within the community of Sonipat. Perhaps upon graduation this is something we can all return to, and we can truly help empower women through safer communities.
So we must rest while we can, for the real experience (and opportunity to enforce change) is only just beginning…
To find out more about HelpingB, visit their website: https://www.helpingb.co/
We’re in the news again! Press coverage on the overall project: http://bit.ly/1VAdnmt