Danish Dhamani (Class of 2013): Everything’s gonna be Orai | Aga Khan Academies

Danish Dhamani (Class of 2013): Everything’s gonna be Orai

Critical thinker. Life-long learner. Global citizen. Three traits, fostered during his time at the Aga Khan Academy, that characterise Danish Dhamani as he now graduates from Drexel University with a BSc in Mechanical Engineering. A 2013 graduate from the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa, Danish was an integral part of the residential community and president of the Student Representative Council during his two years at the school.

When asked about his most cherished memories, Dhamani reminisced about the sense of community that developed as a result of the residential program. “People became really close to one another, like an extended family. We had meals together, we celebrated birthdays and special occasions together, and we studied together… One really memorable event for me was singing ‘Happy birthday and kata keki’ (‘cut the cake’ in Swahili).” Danish’s term serving as president of the Student Representative Council was similarly rooted in the idea of building a familial sense of community, and most of his events were geared towards achieving this goal.

Four years later, Danish continues to think outside the box and combine his personal interests with making a difference in the society. Upon arriving at university, he discovered that he needed to improve his public speaking skills. Danish realised that this is a problem that affects many people around the world.

His solution to this problem? Orai.

Orai is a mobile app that aims to make anyone become a better public speaker using artificial intelligence. From tracking the number of ‘ums’ and ‘you knows’, to assessing the “tone” of your speech, the app provides a comprehensive report and suggestions on how you could become a better presenter. The intelligent engineering of the algorithms and attention to detail in the app literally leaves no person speechless.

At present, his venture has won approximately $50,000 in prizes. Orai won 2nd place in the Microsoft US Imagine Cup Finals and advanced with 6 other ventures to the Imagine Cup World Finals in July 2017. Motivated to take his venture to the next level, along with his co-founder, Danish will be working full-time on Orai post-graduation. His efforts and dedication towards Orai has now impacted the lives of over 30,000 users around the world. 

As he reflects on his time at the Academy, Danish specifically remembers his classes with Mr. Alchin. “He looked at the world very differently,” he notes. Teachers such as Mr. Alchin instilled in Danish the capacity and willingness to think outside the proverbial box. In preparing him for university, both the International Baccalaureate curriculum and the opportunity to engage in extracurricular activities broadened his perspective towards the world and made him a lifelong learner.

His vision for the future is to be able to reside in a world where individuals are exposed to the global issues such as food insecurity and global warming from a young age, and are equipped with knowledge on latest technological advancements to engage in problem solving and action driven initiatives.

By Karina Hussein