Zuri Watoto Wote

The Kazuri Beads Factory

Posted in Responding to poverty in Kenya by Lynn Ouellette on 02/06/2010

The Kazuri Bead factory  is a place not far from the Children’s home that we stopped on the way back from one of our days at Lea Toto. It is now a company that has about 350 employees but first began when one white woman wanted to create a way for impoverished Kenyan women to support themselves. Since Lloydie, our trip leader often takes travelers there and is a frequent visitor (as well as being one of the friendliest people in the world), she has developed a relationship with the “Mamas” who make the beads. When we arrived for our tour there was immediate excitement and with the support of the management in this incredibly worker friendly environment, all the women broke into song and dance as a special welcome for us. We have had a lot of special welcomes since as Lloydie’s friends we have been instantly accepted and welcomed in the most enthusiastic ways. After some singing and dancing, and handing out of candy to the Mamas, we went on with the tour. We learned about the making of the beads, which are beautiful, but also of a work environment that is incredibly supportive, offers onsite childcare and medical care,  transportation for workers, rotates the work assignment daily to keep in interesting, and has a value system that is dedicated to employing single mothers, and the disenfranchised. What struck me the most was that it was the happiest workplace and that the women had a so much pride in their work. It is a wonderful model of a socially responsible company dedicated to its community, most especially mothers.

This YouTube video gives a great description of Kizuri Beads:

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