Yangyel Lhaden

In a world filled with Jataka and Panchatantra tales, when was the last time you heard a children’s story starting with “Hema Hema”?

Educare Skill, an online learning platform by IBEST, has answered this call, curating children’s stories deeply rooted in Bhutanese and local contexts.

Drawing inspiration from international platforms, Educare Skill has produced hard copies of five volumes for each of its series, resulting in a collection of 20 captivating stories.

The Monkey King series kicks off with “Hema Hema Sangay Chom Dhen Dey…”, transporting readers into the enchanting world of the wise Monkey King, a past reincarnation of Buddha Sakyamuni.

This book features tales centered on animals and birds, prompting us to ponder our own humanity. In the Dragon Tales, there is no fixed protagonist; instead, various characters take the spotlight.

These tales, spanning no more than 25 pages each, are adorned with vibrant illustrations and concise sentences tailored for easy comprehension.

Available in both Dzongkha and English, they offer access to Dzongkha content that is otherwise scarce, preserving the essence of the narrative while ensuring brevity.

Each story imparts valuable lessons without being preachy, touching on themes like unity, honesty, critical thinking, and friendship.

For instance, one story illustrates the power of cooperation as animals unite under the guidance of the Monkey King to overcome a common adversary, the hunter.

Recommended for children of all ages, these books provide a delightful reading experience for toddlers and elders alike.

Behind the scenes, over 100 team members have meticulously crafted these stories, drawing from oral traditions and local folklore.

While two volumes released so far contain ancient folklore, there is anticipation for future releases that incorporate modern contexts such as birthdays and city life, enhancing the series’ relevance.

However, affordability remains a concern, with individual books priced at Nu 350 and the complete set at Nu 3,500. Ensuring accessibility to these invaluable creations is crucial to reaching every child and promoting Bhutanese literature on a global scale.

Beyond hard copies, Educare Skill is expanding its initiative with the launch of an application and website featuring additional volumes and series, including read-aloud videos, animated series, nursery rhymes, and interactive learning modules, all available through subscription.