“Kazuri” is the Swahili word for
“small and beautiful.”
And this perfectly describes hand-made Kazuri beads—hand-painted ceramic jewelry that shines with a kaleidoscope of African colors and Kenyan art. These beads are made with clay from the Mt Kenya area, lending authenticity to the craft.
Founded by Lady Susan Wood in an African village in 1975, Kazuri is a member of the World Fair Trade Federation (WFTO), which authenticates fair wages, and safe working conditions worldwide.
The Beginning of Kazuri Beads
In 1975, Lady Susan Wood started a business making beads in a small shed in her back garden. She hired two disadvantaged women and quickly realized that many more women needed jobs.
She created Kazuri Beads as a help center for needy women, especially single mothers who had no other source of income. In 1988 Kazuri became a factory and expanded to over 120 women and men. Here women are trained and apply their skills to produce these unique and beautiful beads and jewelry.
The factory is a social gathering place, with the hum of voices continuing throughout the day. With high unemployment, one jobholder often ends up providing for an “extended family” of 20 or more. Kazuri is also a member of the Fair Trade Act.
In 2001, Mark and Regina Newman bought the company to increase its size further and maintain the guiding philosophy—to provide employment opportunities for disadvantaged members of Kenyan society.
About Lady Wood
Kazuri Founder—Lady Susan Wood was born (1918) in a mud hut in an 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 Kenya in 1947 and were dedicated to making a difference. Lady Wood started a coffee plantation on the Karen Blixen estate, famous for the award-winning movie “Out of Africa,” at the foot of the Ngon’g Hills—about 30 minutes from the bustling Nairobi city center in Kenya.
Lady Wood was a visionary, an 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.