Total loan: $20,000
Bokonbayevo, Issyk-Kul Region, Kyrgyzstan / Arts
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A loan helped to purchase a new felting machine and high-quality merino wool to create new jobs for women in Kyrgyzstan.
Zhanyl lives in a Bokonbayevo, a small town in northern Kyrgyzstan. Since childhood, Zhanyl has loved to work with her mother and grandmother, raising sheep, washing their wool, and practicing traditional shyrdak felting every evening. As she grew up, synthetic materials and machine-made products infiltrated the market, and Zhanyl watched traditional weaving techniques disappear. To continue this ancient nomadic tradition and employ women throughout the region, Zhanyl organized Altyn Oimok, an organization that would create jobs by reviving the Hyrgyz heritage of felt art. When the organization began in 1994, Zhanyl worked with five women; today, 31 felt masters work in several workshops and own a store. Last year, Zhanyl received a Kiva loan for $7,400, which she used to invest in raw materials and a new wool-carding machine. She was able to increase production, and hire 7 new artisans to work in her workshop. A second loan of $20,000 will help Zhanyl purchase a new felting machine and high-quality raw materials. This loan will allow Zhanyl to create more jobs for young women in Kyrgyzstan, and ultimately increase production and sales by more than 50%. Zhanyl also plans to open her own website to sell products online, and reach a larger international audience.