“It wasn't until Monday that I woke up and realized it was over. I called Emil up, and only then it sank in that we don't have any brainstorming to do. I don't have the words to describe the emptiness I felt then” Says Sagar Sen (Sabiyasachi), after the last challenge of Project d-youth. It has been four months since these extraordinary people teamed up for an astonishing race, one that pushed them to the limits of their ingenuity and strategic skills. Today they stand at the finish line, looking back at the journey that was Project D-Youth.
Images on the rearview mirror
At the beginning of the main challenges were 20 teams: Rapid Soul Movement, Sobyoshachi, Lynching Mob, Dominators, UpgradeLevels, Rockers,Creative, Channel for Charity, Laal ,BUET Bugs, Resurgence, Lobdhi, Deshi Jewels, Bijoy, Maas, Fest, Goblin Corp, Dream Unlimited.
Firing off the race was a charity drive for the Acid Survivors' Foundation. One of the goals of Project D' Youth being to instill in the participants a sense of corporate social responsibility, this community service project was very important. Fired up by the emotional aspect of this challenge, the contenders went to great lengths to achieve their objective, approaching institutions, corporate houses, and shopping outlets, organizing exhibitions and tournaments, et al. At the end of the elimination round, their cumulative earnings amounted to a whopping Tk 3 lakh, but greater than that was a sense of having made a difference, which sweetened the defeat for those who made their exit.
The next challenge, which had the participants designing an ad for youth brand D' juice, was a measure of their creativity. The creative heads of the Bitopi ad agency and the co-founders of P.B Shayaan, Nicole, Navine, Salman and Rafaan who formed the judges panel for this test unanimously declared themselves impressed by the talents of these amateur ad-makers. The D-juice image being closely linked with music, those ads that emphasised on music for communication scored the highest, with team Rapid Soul winning kudos for the best ad.
The Iamhungry.com challenge that followed, required the teams to promote the site and thereby prove their business and time management skills. The 15 teams were divided into three groups for this challenge. The most critical part for the teams was to get the people to try out the imhungrybd.com SMS service, which they had to implement by going out on streets reaching out to the people.
The 10 teams that survived this moved on to the Mohammadi garments challenge, which measured their analytical skills by asking them to study the entire garments production process and submit an evaluation. As the participants had little prior knowledge about the mechanisms of the garments sector, this was a very demanding task, but they rose to the occasion, learning a lot in the process.
|The 6 teams that pulled through were faced with the tricky Transcom challenge that pitted them against each other in a test of their salesmanship.
This particular challenge was a very suspenseful one, particularly for team Laal, which had to deal with the harshest odds, and yet managed to sell the highest amount. “Every time I thought Laal won't be able to make it, they proved us all wrong in the end with their quick wit and charm.” Says Sajid, Djuice. The cumulative sales of all the teams amounted to Tk 23 lakh, which far exceeded the average sales of Tk 6 lakh.
The Bottomely orphanage challenge was up next, which divided the 4 teams into two groups who had to redecorate a room each for the children in the orphanage. This challenge was about sheer team spirit and budgeting, as they had to work together to make the most mileage out of the Project Bangladesh funds of Tk 35,000 for each group.
And then there were two. Lobdhi and Sobiyasachi, having beaten out the others in the race, went head to head in the final challenge, which had them organizing a Valentine's concert to raise money for the ASF.
As a neutral observer, this correspondent had the pleasure of watching the judges tearing their hair in frustration as they tried to pick the winner from the two well-matched teams. As the countdown to the final decision on the Gala Night at the Sonargaon Hotel on February 27 began, hearts raced and palms grew sweaty in anticipation. The event featured Geeteare Safiya Chowdhury as Chief Guest, and other luminaries such as Canadian high commissioner, Her Excellency Barbara Richardson, chairman and managing director, Rahim Afrooz, Bangladesh bank vice chairman, directors Transcom, BOC managing director and diplomats from various foreign missions. Just when the suspense reached a screaming crescendo, the Chief Guest announced the team Lobdhi as the winners, presenting them with Tk 3 lakh, and the prestige of being the Brand Ambassador for D-juice. The runners up Sobiyasachi received a cheque of Tk.1 lakh, and a great platform to move ahead in the corporate world.
Following a recap of the weeks gone by, was a speech from the Chief Guest, where she reminded the audience of the importance of service to one's nation, praised the initiatives taken by Project D-Youth, and hoped this would lead today's youth towards a better future. This was followed by speeches by the team captains Tahera and Sagar, Eric CEO of Grameen phone and Rafaan Seraj.
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, but teach him to fish, you feed him for life. This is the reasoning behind project D-youth. Our intention for Project D-youth is to be the catalyst for a change and a platform for our future leaders” said Rafaan Seraj, Project BD.
Project BD was founded by 5 individuals who initiated their journey to unite Bangladeshis worldwide, especially the youths to raise awareness and funds for charity. So, as they came up with the idea of the first ever Project d-youth contest in the country, they felt that the youth brand D-juice would be perfect project partners.
Purbo Poshchim made the evening enchanting by the beautiful tunes of the flute, an apt compliment to one of those rare events here, which managed to excell without any loopholes, be it in the challenges or in the judging criteria. It was project Bangladesh who formulated each of these challenges and made sure it conveys the message of CSR and community service. We asked the teams what their journey meant to them and they replied “We never thought we could actually do this. It has opened our eyes to the innumerable options we have and how we can grasp them and do something for our country."
(R) thedailystar.net 2007