Training: A pilot project to document oral histories and traditions of Thimphu began yesterday with 14 youth writers from across the country attending a two-day training called “Script Weavers”.

Youth Social Cooperative (Y Co-Op), Bhutan’s first social cooperative, and Bhutan Centre for Media & Democracy (BCMD) are organising the training on the basics of oral documentation, interviewing and writing techniques.

Founder and the chief executive of Y Co-Op, Ngawang Gyeltshen, said the project was an attempt to preserve the rich oral tradition of the country, which is on the verge of fading, and to encourage more youth participation in such initiatives.

Ngawang Gyeltshen said there was a huge generation gap between the youth and the elderlies today in terms of their perspective towards life. “The primary objective of our project is not only to document the content, but to bridge this gap between the generations, which is widening by the year,” he said.

After the two-day training, participants will interview elderlies, who are above 55 years, based on the theme “Then and now: Changing Bhutan.”

Khasadrapchu, Begana, Namseling and Kabesa in Thimphu have been tentatively identified, as the places participants will visit for the interview.

Executive director of BCMD, Siok Sian Pek Dorji, said such activities allowed critical thinking in youth, which was important at this stage of growth. “In the light of development we shouldn’t forget the past,” she said. “History is important.”

A participant, Tenzin Yonten, said that, apart from acquiring social skills through such a programme, getting a firsthand experience on history would be a good exposure. “I’m excited to hear some of the unheard stories from the past,” he said.

Another participant, Karma Pelzom Zangmo, said her interest in the field of journalism made her join the programme. The final documented articles will be shared with the local communities on May 23.

Meanwhile, the participants conducted their first mock-documentation at the memorial chorten yesterday.

By Younten Tshedup