The Dharma Bee contest, organized by the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, (HSS) received enthusiastic response of 3300 children across the United States at the time of closing of registration on March 10, 2013. Children in grades Kindergarten to Eighth are eligible to participate. There are 4 groups. Group 1 is K-1st grade; Group 2 is 2nd-3rd grades; Group 3 is 4th-5th grades; and Group 4 is 6th, 7th, 8th grades. Built upon its past success of national competition “Kaun Banega Ramayan Expert” or KBRE as it was popularly known, HSS has come up with the idea of Dharma Bee to make children learn about Hindu culture and heritage in a fun environment. The topic is Sri Krishna (early childhood stories) and Swami Vivekananda (life and message).
“Children, who have registered and are participating, are really enthusiastic and are having fun while learning. In many places, as soon as asked if they wanted to participate in such a contest, almost all children raised their hand,” said Sreevidya Radhakrishna, a national coordinator. “Dharma Bee provides an excellent opportunity for our kids … to improve their Dharma Quotient,” Dinesh Pai, from PA said. “My daughter is excited about this unique Bee. She took the pre-qualifying and has already begun working on a unique project for Level 1. She also has been asking some very interesting questions about our dharma in general and Swami Vivekananda in particular.” Mother of another child, Priya from IL, welcomed the idea. “It is great pleasure to us that HSS thought of organizing such a contest throughout USA! It is indeed a privilege for any student to register and assess his/her knowledge and awareness about our unique and great culture.
Many parents were still contacting Dharma Bee Team even after closing of registration portal. Dharma Bee will be held at 200 centers across 30 states. Level 1 will be mostly objective questions and written (similar to practice online exam). At Level 2, it will be oral (objective and subjective). Level 3 will have written, oral, and team aspects to it. Level 3 National will be held at June 15-16 weekend in Chicago. The organizers will take care of all boarding and lodging arrangements. Some travel allowances may also be considered.
All participants who pass the practice pre-qualifying exam will receive a certificate. Medals will be awarded to Level 1 winners. Level 2 winners will receive trophies. Winners going to Chicago will receive some travel grants. Level 3 winners will receive $3,000 for 1st place, $2,000 for 2ndplace, $1,000 for 3rd place. Hon. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has graciously accepted the invitation of this event and will give awards to winners.
Many social organizations as well as several local temples-sponsored children cultural groups are supporting Dharma Bee by encouraging children who attend their weekend cultural classes.