It’s always pleasing to bring back a gift from your travels – be it for yourself or for others. However, finding something truly representative and authentic, whilst being responsible and supporting local trade can be difficult.
Last time I was in Nairobi I found a Kazuri Beads shop in the Westgate Mall at Westlands. It’s not a huge shop but it is packed with necklaces, bracelets and earrings. The hard part is choosing.
The Kazuri workshop is set on part of the Karen Blixen Estate, in the town of Karen just outside Nairobi. Kazuri started in 1975, with just 2 Kenyan women experimenting with handmade beads. Indeed, Kazuri means “small and beautiful” in Swahili. The enterprise has since expanded and provides employment opportunities to single women in Kenya.
Kazuri now has several outlets in Kenya and also exports to a variety of countries, including the UK (available in John Lewis, for example). That does take a little away from the impact of your Kenyan gift, but it should be good for the Kenyan women. It is a Fair Trade organisation so you can shop with a clear conscience.
Originally posted in March 2013 on Travel with Intent as part of the Two Cents Tuesday Challenge:Gifts.