Kazuri Beads

The Kazuri Story

 

Lady Susan Wood

Kazuri Founder – Lady Susan Wood had humble beginnings. Born (1918) in a mud hut in an African village, her parents were missionaries from England in the Ituri Forest. Lady Wood was sent to England in order to be educated and ended up marrying Michael Wood, a surgeon. They came to Kenya in 1947 and became dedicated to making a difference. Lady Wood started a coffee plantation on the Karen Blixen estate, famous from the award winning movie “Out of Africa” , which is at the foot of the Ngon’g Hills (about 30 minutes from the bustling Nairobi city center in Kenya). Lady Wood was a visionary and unsung hero of her time. She assisted her husband in founding the East African Flying Doctor Service, which expanded into the African Medical Research Foundation (AMREF) of which Michael Wood was Director General for 29 years. Michael Wood was knighted in 1985.

Kazuri Beads Origins

In 1975, Lady Wood set up a fledging business making beads in a small shed in her back garden. She started by hiring two disadvantaged women, and quickly realized that there were many more women who were in need of jobs. Henceforth, Kazuri Beads was created and began its long and successful journey as a help center for the needy women, especially single mothers who had no other source of income. In 1988, Kazuri became a factory and expanded hugely to include over 120 women and men. Here, women are trained and apply their skills to produce unique and beautiful beads and jewelry. The beads are made with clay from the Mt Kenya area, thus giving authenticity to the craft. The factory acts as a social gathering with the hum of voices continuing vibrating throughout the day. With unemployment so high, one jobholder often ends up providing for an “extended family” of 20 or more. Kazuri is a member of the Fair Trade Act.

Kazuri Beads Present Day

Today, Kazuri (the Swahili word for ‘small and beautiful’) produces a wide range of hand made and painted ceramic jewelry that shines with a kaleidoscope of African colors. Kazuri’s beautifully finished products are made to an international standard and are sold worldwide. These standards are maintained through high training regimens and a highly motivated management team.

In 2001, Mark and Regina Newman bought the company. Their goal is to further increase the size and maintain the central guiding philosophy … to provide employment opportunities for disadvantaged members of Kenyan Society.

 

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Kili’s Pick: Mara Plains Camp, Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Masai Mara

There are many luxury camps throughout Kenya, but none captures the essence of Africa as well as Mara Plains Camp. Every single detail of the camp is exquisite and in harmony with the surroundings. Guests have the luxury of experience here, not just luxurious accommodations. There is maximum flexibility in what guests can do, unlimited explorations through the two massive conservancies plus the reserve, and attentiveness from the Great Plains team that make Mara Plains Camp a retreat rather than a lodge.

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Something Special at The Emakoko

In May of this year, we finished our Northern Circuit family safari with a great stay at The Emakoko. Not only is it beautifully set, stylish and comfortable, it’s deep in the African wilderness of Nairobi National Park, less than an hour from Nairobi city center and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Anton and Emma Childs, owner-managers of The Emakoko, have achieved a chic modern lodge that celebrates it’s surroundings. Game driving from the park gate to the lodge, we encountered a magnificent baby white rhino. Upon arrival, we crossed a footbridge over the Mbagathi River and felt hundreds of miles away from the airport we’d left only an hour before, and, from the open-air bar & dining room, we could feel a late season rain drench the forested valley.

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