1975, Lady Susan Wood set up a fledging business making beads in a small shed in her back garden in an African village. She started by hiring two disadvantaged women, and quickly realized that there were many more women who were in need of jobs and so Kazuri Beads (Swahili for 'small and beautiful') was created outside Nairobi, Kenya on the former coffee plantation of Karen Blixen (of Out of Africa fame).
In 1988, Kazuri became a factory and expanded hugely with over 120 women and men. Today it continues its long and successful journey as a help center for over 200 needy women, especially single mothers who have no other source of income.
Here women are trained and apply their skills to produce these unique and beautiful beads and jewelry. The beads are made with clay from the Mt Kenya area thus giving them authenticity to their craft. The factory acts as a social gathering with the hum of voices continuing throughout the day. With unemployment so high, one jobholder often ends up providing for an "extended family" of 20 or more.
You can find out more about Kazuri beads at www.kazuri.com