by Tehreen Islam
If you haven’t come across a Pebble toy till now, you don’t know what you are missing. Irresistibly cute and amazingly adorable – Pebble toys are exactly that and much more. What makes these handmade toys more special is the reason and people behind it.
Pebble is the toy brand of Hathay Bunano, a non-profit organization for women that started in 2004 with the mission to create fairly paid, good quality, flexible and local employment for rural women who are poor and often disadvantaged. Hathay Bunano is all about creating opportunity for rural women to earn money to support the families, being in rural setting with family and children instead of migrating to cities. Samantha Morshed , along with her British- Bangladeshi husband Golam Morshed established the first rural production centre in the village of Shilmona in 2005 and eventually it grew to 64 centres and 6, 500 employees. (Source: Reducing Poverty by Employing Young Women: Hathay Bunano’s Scalable Model for Rural Production in Bangladesh, 2012). Samantha Morshed says, ‘Today we can establish a centre wherever a group of 100 women are interested in working and are willing to undertake six to eight weeks of training in knitting, crocheting, or embroidery. ‘
Launching of Pebble was a natural transition as toys were already being made at Hatey Bunao. Samantha Morshed has two and had a good idea of what young children liked. This was in fact the inspiration for the early toys. ‘I wanted also to make something that was made by hand but could be made in volume so that we could expand the handicraft industry in Bangladesh. Finally I wanted to bring bright and cheerful colours to a very natural product, so all our yarns are Oeko-tex 100 standard and entirely safe but at the same time very colourful and appealing,’ she added. Samantha Morshed is the designer of the toys and twice a year they bring out a new catalogue, as they are always working on new toys.
Pebble toys cater babies from birth and generally children up to the age of about 10 years. I personally love them because they are cute, cuddly and do a good cause. Samantha says, ‘We set up rural production centres in villages where the women come to work. This way we can maintain consistency over volume and at the same time it’s a very communal way for the women to work where they are able to support and help each other.’ Pebble toys are very creatively done. The range ‘The Once upon a time’ is one of its kind as each of these characters have a little storybook which includes all the characters with a fun knitted setting and a story that tells you about Pebble.
The organic collection is made of 100% organic material. The toys have variety to pick from. From donkey to Bengal tiger, cupcakes to fruits – they have quite a many options to decide from.
There are hats, blankets, rattles, rag dolls, key rings etc and they range between Tk 400 – Tk 1,000. When asked Samantha what is coming next, she said ‘We are currently developing some very large toys – up to three feet tall as well as some kids home items – mobiles and decorative items. We recently brought out a range of key rings which are really fun and enable us to connect with Pebble fans who aren’t children.’ In Bangladesh you can buy Pebble from the pebble child store at www.akhoni.com for free home delivery throughout Bangladesh.
Every Pebble toy is designed to encourage play and development, role play, storytelling and basically to let the kids’ mind run wild in imagination. These cute stuffs can surely make anyone smile.
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