Young Guns at Work

Tandin Phurba



His Majesty The King has been his constant encouragement and ultimate source of inspiration for this 21-year-old, the founder of one of the most engaging pages in social media – Humans of Thimphu.

Tandin Phurba (popularly known as Tandin Phubz) has done his bachelor’s degree in Dzongkha and English from Sherubtse College in 2020.

From a very young age, he had great fascination for photography and listening and sharing stories of people and the society.

His interest in telling stories paved way for Humans of Thimphu (HoT), a Facebook group, which has garnered admiration and momentum in the social media site accounting to more than 41,000 likes in less than a year.

Tandin said he got his idea of forming the page from Netflix while watching the movie Maska where it portrays project of people that is the Bombay Peoples Project. After watching the movie he went to google and searched topics related with people’s project.

Following his research, he then looked up to Humans of Bombay and Humans of New York. Most of his business structure and idea came from Humans of Bombay, a Facebook page dedicated to citizens of Mumbai in India.

Tandin started this page on Oct 2020 along with one of his closest friends Damchoe Yonten. Currently the team consists of six youth members.

At the onset it was difficult for the team to assemble stories because of the reluctance and hesitations from the people to tell their story.

“Before, people would ask whether the team were from Bhutan Broadcasting Service or from other media houses to cover their story. However, it is a different story now,” an elevated Phubz says. ‘‘We are HoT’ and our brand works.”

The stories for the page are collected from across all walks of life and directly seek stories from the people.

As the page got popular, there were many stories and their interest in this field got bolder, so they recruited more youth interested in such activities.

Like any other social media group they also face the challenge of sustainability in the Bhutanese market. Tandin shares that through such works, the question of how it will sustain and how it can generate income lingers on.

He plans to increase the members and wants to collaborate with other organization and further aims to extend his brand through marketing.

There is no any sponsor as such but till date, the team have branded and collaborated with many organizations such as Bank of Bhutan, Pride Bhutan, Lhak-Sam, Bhutan Cancer Society and Bhutan Kidney Foundation.

Soon, the team plans to execute their storytelling through video whereas, presently, all the storytelling is done through written form.

The project intends on not merging with Civil Society Organization (CSO) and for business purposes but plans to achieve both of the attributes related with CSO and business institutions.

Through HoT, the founder feels that there is change in the mindset of the people and have brought changes in how they perceive society as a whole.

There isn’t certain niche while they cover the story; it is primarily to do with human interest story. At present, they cover stories that are common in the society namely gender and racism.

On the other hand, the brand name is kept as Humans of Thimphu as Thimphu has the highest population in the country and every walks of the society convents in Thimphu, ultimately covering large sections of the country.

The talented youth also have his own YouTube channel as Tandin Phubz amounting to more than 12,000 subscribers and earns him more than USD 100 in two months. His YouTube channel focuses on music videos and so far, he has released 13 music videos and two are still in the process.

Photography has been his forte since his high school but his videography skills kicked off when he started his college career.

Right now, through such platform, it has given him opportunities to grow and to explore new things in life.

He says that it is better to do things that you are interested and good at and he plans to sustain his life through his projects and storytelling ideas and to do other jobs, he says that it is too much of a burdensome.

He advises that there shouldn’t be second thought while you do things and to just grasp the opportunity that arises and points out to the youth to have second options in life.

“The support from my family and friends have been immense but at first, they were questioning about the sustainability of my work but now I have changed their way of thinking and they are pretty happy with what I am doing right now,” remarks the happy Phubz.

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