In his rural home in the Kyrgyz Republic, Kurbanaliev Abutalip crouches in front of a makeshift work bench and spreads out his materials: scraps of wood, empty plastic bottles, nails, hammers, screwdrivers, and a saw. With these basic supplies, Abutalip has found a way to craft a connection with his three children: making toys.
Abutalip and his wife Sanabar hatched the idea to make toys for their children – five-year-old Ayana, three-year-old Nursamit, and one-year-old Nursalih – after attending Aga Khan Foundation supported parenting classes before Nursalih was born.
“I am trying to give my children more time than I did before,” says Kurbanaliev. The first toy he made was a small wooden chair; today, Ayana, Nursamit, and Nursalih have a full set of miniature furniture, and cars made out of recycled bottles. Their mother sews felt rabbits, cows, and horses.
For Ayana, Nursamit, and Nursalih, it might just be fun and games. But for their parents, making toys is an investment in a brighter future for their family – one felt horse at a time.