TSEM brings toys for Bhutanese chil­dren

Business Bhutan - - Money - Dechen Dolkar

If you are look­ing for lo­cally made toys for your chil­dren, TSEM un­doubt­edly has more than what you are look­ing for.

TSEM, mean­ing ‘Play’ in Dzongkha, is an ed­u­ca­tional toy man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany in the coun­try that presently pro­duces wooden ed­u­ca­tional toys such as puzzles, Dzongkha al­pha­bet boards and Bhutan map, among oth­ers.

Started by a young cou­ple, Ugyen Wangmo and her hus­band Gyal­sten K Dorji, the wooden ed­u­ca­tional toys fo­cus on Bhutanese cul­ture and en­cour­age prob­lem solv­ing, de­vel­op­ment of mo­tor and cog­ni­tive skills of chil­dren, and in­tro­duce chil­dren to writ­ten Dzongkha.

Ugyen Wangmo, 32, said they came out with the idea of mak­ing ed­u­ca­tional toys after the birth of their son in 2014 as the cou­ple con­fronted prob­lem in de­vot­ing enough time to their son on a daily ba­sis.

The cou­ple, most of­ten, after a long day, took the easy way out and handed over their mo­bile phone or placed their son in front of the TV. Theyre­al­ized through both ex­pe­ri­ence and news ar­ti­cles that this was not a healthy ac­tiv­ity for their son.

“Such tech­nol­ogy and me­dia rel­e­gated our son to a mere pas­sive con­sumer of what­ever he was watch­ing on TV or play­ing on the phone,” she said.

Abreast that there would be other ad­verse im­pacts, Ugyen Wangmo said they de­cided that they needed to be more at­ten­tive as par­ents and to pro­vide a more whole­some up­bring­ing.

And ac­cord­ingly, the cou­ple started the toy man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany in late 2016 with col­lat­eral free loan of over Nu 1.1mn from Lon­den Foun­da­tion and for­mally started busi­ness last year. They man­u­fac­tured around ten toys as of to­day and their most pop­u­lar prod­ucts are Bhutan map puz­zle and Dzongkha al­pha­bet boards.

Ugyen Wangmo said they started with toys in Dzongkha as such toys were not avail­able in the coun­try. How­ever, they are also plan­ning to man­u­fac­ture toys in English based on the de­mand of the peo­ple.

“In­cor­po­rat­ing our cul­ture, our lo­cal folk sto­ries and art in our toys is also a goal. Our mis­sion is to keep learn­ing and im­prov­ing the de­signs of our toys so that chil­dren have fun while learn­ing,” she added.

Most of the toys are man­u­fac­tured us­ing wood, mostly waste wood whichthey find in sawmills and con­struc­tion sites and which would oth­er­wise just be burned or dis­carded. They also use non-toxic acrylic paints for some toys and strive to use lo­cal ma­te­ri­als as much as pos­si­ble.Most of the prod­ucts are sold on­line through their Face­book’s page and by word of mouth.

“We also plan to start of­fer­ing our prod­ucts through some of the re­cently launched e-com­merce apps,” Ugyen Wangmo said, adding that they use buses and taxis to de­liver their prod­ucts to other Dzongkhags.

Mean­while, most cus­tomers in­clude the pri­vate early learn­ing cen­ters, par­ents, and tourists. They have also re­ceived a few orders from the Ti­betan com­mu­ni­ties liv­ing abroad. Prices of the sin­gle prod­uct range from Nu 300 to Nu 1,600.

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