African Beads and Jewels that Benefits Disadvantaged Kenyans

 

On the mission trip in Africa, we toured and shopped at “Kazuri”, a large bead factory which provides employment and benefits for single mothers.  They showed us how they process the clay, paint the beads and make jewelry.  Only about 25% of production is for Africa, with 75% exported.

“Kazuri” is the Swahili word for “small and beautiful,” a fitting name for the multitude of exquisite

beads handmade by Kenyan women.  No molds or forms are used by the 350 women who shape each bead by hand.  The process continues as the beads are fired, painted, glazed, and fired again before being strung into necklaces and bracelets that are exported to 30 countries. The mission of Kazuri is to provide and sustain employment opportunities for disadvantaged members of Kenyan society. Most Kazuri employees would tell you the company has transformed their lives.  Kazuri provides good salaries, excellent working conditions, and a sense of self-sufficiency in a country where financial security, especially for women, is rare.

Kazuri has since grown to employ 350 women in 2008, with at least twenty women being trained regularly, ready for full-time employment as demand increases.  The workshop itself is now located in an area that was once part of Karen von Blixen’s (of Out of Africa fame) coffee plantation, and includes several buildings, each built by local workers using local materials.

We know sell these beautifully hand-made beads in the showroom!