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Learning 'Haashaviyani' with Kyle and Lulu

Shahudha Mohamed
28 October 2019, MVT 11:18
Kyle and Lulu in an underwater adventure during one of the episodes of their 'Haashaviyani' cartoon. PHOTO: GORILLACELS
Shahudha Mohamed
28 October 2019, MVT 11:18

Produced by Gorillacels, ‘Kyle and Lulu’s Haashaviyani’ is the first animated cartoon series for kids created in the native language of Maldives, as an educational tool to teach Thaana, the Dhivehi alphabet, to children.

The producer and animator for Gorillacels, Hussain Ihwan, created the six episodes of ‘Kyle and Lulu’s Haashaviyani’ due to the lack of interesting learning methods available for children in the local language.

In an exclusive interview with The Edition, he described how conceptualisation revolved around making Dhivehi more accessible for children by incorporating a more enjoyable way for learning.

Targeted especially for kids between the ages of 2-7, Ihwan aimed to create a product that would captivate little children’s attention through the journeys of characters they could relate to.

Kyle and Lulu on a picnic in one of the 'Haashaviyani' episodes. PHOTO: GORILLACELS

Speaking of the importance that animation plays in children's development in present-day, noting that cartoons is where they first attain values, ethics and role models which are key foundational lessons, Ihwan added that the lack of Dhivehi cartoons is detrimental to cultivating an environment of enjoyable learning.

"We asked children aged 7-8 about Dhivehi, to which their feedback was that the learning materials are boring. When they receive Dhivehi learning materials from schools and tuition centres, they are simply not attractive for kids".

"With the lack of Dhivehi cartoons, there is a big void in Maldivian society, and that is the very reason we started developing our cartoon".

Gorillacels took it upon themselves to fill this void by producing a quality product that would not only be accepted by locals but internationally as well. Giving equal importance to every aspect which would make an educational children's cartoon stand out, Ihwan did a tremendous job of creating an entertaining medium for learning which has the potential to conquer the heart of any viewer, kids and adults alike.

The animations in the series are brought alive by Kyle and Lulu - two bright, bubbly and adventurous children filled with curiosity and wonder, just like their target audience. In every episode, the characters lead the viewers through four Thaana letters, interacting with the audience via questions, suggestions and conversations with each new finding. The ‘Haashaviyani’ series concludes with a total of six episodes.

Kyle and Lulu - the two characters guiding the audience through the Dhivehi alphabet with engaging conversation, surprises and a lot of laughter. PHOTO: GORILLACELS

In addition to being engaging, Kyle and Lulu’s Haashaviyani boasts aesthetically pleasing visuals. Every scene is colourful and captivating, with some shots depicting several aspects of Maldives and the capital Male’ City. Ihwan incorporates a lot of nature and magic into the episodes - lush gardens filled with trees laden with ripe fruits, plants dotted with bright blooms, oceans in shades of cerulean bursting with marine flora and fauna. The sound effects accompanying the scenes add to the excitement, opening up a whole new world for imagination and stories for the viewers.

Watching Kyle and Lulu’s journey, it is quite evident that the producers paid close attention to detail in making the cartoon series a success. The educational aspect was considered down to the manner in which each letter was written, including the length of every line and size of every loop. Ihwan sat down to discuss the cartoon with the National Institute for Education (NIE) and updated the episodes accordingly - after which NIE endorsed the cartoon as a certified teaching tool for children.

Four letters of thaana - Baa, Lhaviyani, Kaafu and Alif - taught in the second episode of the cartoon series. PHOTO: GORILLACELS

Although the cartoon is in the Maldivian mother tongue, three percent of the content is in English, to make the cartoon more appealing to youngsters who begin learning the second language at a very young age.

In addition to the subtle art of educating children through an entertaining medium, the transition from one scene to another is artful as well. Maintaining smooth flow throughout every episode, the series is dotted with interesting information and advice; all relayed in a way that would impact the audience. The messages delivered by the characters are definitely ones that kids will take with them to adulthood.

According to Ihwan, a total of two years went into the production of the educational series. However, the lack of funding, time constraints and the knowledge that no reward was waiting at the end did not diminish his passion and dedication one bit - and the end result is definitely worth it.

Kyle and Lulu's Haashaviyani. PHOTO: GORILLACELS

‘Kyle and Lulu’s Haashaviyani’ is just the first of many more episodes, stories and adventure that is to come. Ihwan has big dreams for the future of the two charming and adorable characters - their stories will unfurl as they go about life, inviting the audience to tag along.

Ihvan exclusively told The Edition that Gorillacels is currently gearing up to launch Kyle and Lulu’s first animated video song.

"This is just the start. We are developing the Kyle and Lulu adventure series. So this will be story-based. We are hoping to release the next series of Kyle and Lulu next year".

Since July 1, Kyle and Lulu has been available on telecommunication giant Dhiraagu TV’s video on demand (VOD) library. The cartoon began airing on the national broadcasting channel MBC every Friday at 1700hrs since October 11. Kids who miss the episodes can catch the repeat every Sunday and Wednesday at 1730hrs.

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