“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand
“I was born and brought up in one of the most rural, least developed and extremely backward parts of India where education was unnoted, dreams were unhonored and superstitions formed the pillar of life.” Born to a farmer, Saurabh Choudhary and his family feared the frequent upheavals and violent conflict among various factions. At the age of four, he didn’t know if he could ever hope to attend school. A government-run dilapidated school building, offered Saurabh little at the age of eight. At age eleven, he doubted he would ever see a city. Yet without money or resources, he dared to dream, ignoring those who taunted him. He finally moved in with relatives in a town with a decent school.
He came to see that “conflict is both a cause and a consequence of poverty. It is not random or an unexplainable phenomena.” He concluded that the destructive conflicts engulfing rural India basically resulted from uneven resource distribution. People could do something about that. Inspired to work for social changes that would build a peaceful world where a lack of resources would not sidetrack any child from pursuing ambitions, employing abilities, or showcasing talent, Saurabh eventually connected with Dexterity Global, a start-up organization with the goal of democratizing education. They plan to bring an online “educational portal” into classrooms and provide competitive forums (platforms) that reward success and achievement while inspiring all participants. Dexterity Global is using education as its medium to promote peace, prosperity and empower individuals and has attracted corporate partners. The Rockefeller Foundation listed it among the one hundred most innovative enterprises.
As one of the strategists, Saurabh developed growth techniques, market penetration plans, and policies for products and management. He pitched to investors and sponsors as well as potential customers, speaking to over 50,000 students, meeting with dignitaries, world renowned entrepreneurs, educators, and policymakers along the way, all in an effort to enlist their help in integrating DexGlobe into a public-private setup. When Bostlnno, a prominent Boston-based media house, wrote about Dexterity Global, Saurabh felt encouraged that his dream of making educational resources and opportunities accessible to every child was a step closer to reality. Working with young entrepreneurs all across the world has helped him learn more about marketing tools and their work-ethics, which he found highly worthwhile.
As if the Dexter project weren’t enough of a challenge, Saurabh has several other endeavors as well. His Book Connect earned a Hansen Foundation startup grant. This project essentially recycles books via online and offline market places. Often what ends a child’s education is simply the cost of textbooks. Even those who can’t afford to go to school will be able to get home-schooled with the availability of inexpensive textbooks. Used books are purchased or collected from libraries and from drop boxes placed in schools and throughout the city. Students who donate their used textbooks may receive appropriate virtual currencies they can apply toward the purchase of another book. In Book Connect’s second phase, employees refurbish older books.
Though still in college, Saurabh makes time to work on two more projects. Kitchen for Kids involves the food sector, and Tute.com helps provide quality tutors at affordable prices. Real leaders, he says, combine passion and optimism with a realistic assessment of facts at hand. Filmmakers no doubt recognized this very trait in Saurabh and have made a documentary/biopic on his life and journey, entitled “Hope@India,” set for airing on MTV, MTV indies, Viacom 18, and several film festivals in India.