Creating Hope and Opportunity from the Earth of Africa
Situated on what was once a part of Karen von Blixen's coffee plantation there is now a small workshop where ceramic jewelry and beads are made by Kenyan women. It is painstaking work. Many of the beads and necklace components are tiny. Each one has to be shaped carefully, polished, fired, painted and fired again. The result is KAZURI, the Swahili word for "small and beautiful."
In the workshops there is a constant buzz that comes from over 350 or so women chatting away non-stop while they work. The peoples of the countries of sub-saharan Africa are facing what often seem to be insurmountable problems as they attempt to improve their respective situations in life. With unemployment running from 65% - 90%, one jobholder often ends up providing for an "extended family" of 20 or more. It is particularly difficult for women to find jobs. Those with little or no education find it virtually impossible. Those lucky ones who do find employment are shown great respect by their families and communities.
Kazuri was started in 1975 by Lady Susan Wood with the social mission of making work for a few women. Initially less than 10 women were employed making beads in her garden shed. As word of the beauty and uniqueness of the Kazuri beads, necklaces and earrings spread, sales increased, as did the facility, and as a result 350 people are now employed. Many more wait in the hope of having an opportunity to join the ranks of those talented people who make small and beautiful objects. Now under new ownership, Kazuri has been able to expand whilst still retaining its philanthropic roots. The workshop is still located on a portion of the farm once owned by Karen Von Blixen, of 'Out of Africa' fame, at the base of the Ngong Hills outside Nairobi.
Lady Susan Wood
Kazuri Founder - Lady Susan Wood was born (1918) in a mud hut in a West African village. Her parents were missionaries from England in the Ituri Forest. Lady Wood was sent back to England to be educated and married Michael Wood, a surgeon. They came to East Africa in 1947. Both dedicated to making a difference, they finally settled near the Karen Blixen estate, famous from the award winning movie "Out of Africa,". Lady Wood was a visionary.and an unsung hero of her time. Working with the local Hospitals, she assisted her husband in founding the East African Flying Doctor Service, which expanded into the African Medical Research Foundation (AMREF). Lady Susan Wood passed away in 2006, she will be missed, but her legacy lives on.
World Fair Trade Federation Approved
Kazuri is a member of the World Fair Trade Federation (WFTO), an internationally recognized organization which authenticates fair wages and safe working conditions at production facilities worldwide.