No visit to Nairobi is complete without visiting Amani ya Juu and Kazuri Beads. Both these enterprises focus on providing employment for women who have to support their families in the city, but need marketable skills to do so.

Amani ya Juu is Swahili for “Peace from Above.” It is a social enterprise and a fair trade sewing and training program for marginalized women in Africa. The Nairobi headquarters is located in the Riverside neighborhood and includes a building for training and manufacturing, an outdoor tie-dye station, an outdoor café, and a gift shop.

The women at Amani produce beautiful fabric items including purses, clothing, pastoral stoles, quilts, stuffed toys, children’s backpacks and kitchen gloves and aprons. The gift shop carries jewelry, Christmas decorations, and other handcrafted items made by Kenyan artisans.

Kazuri is a Swahili word meaning “small and beautiful.” This fair trade organization was founded in 1975 by Lady Susan Wood, whose parents were missionaries in Kenya. Kazuri Beads is located at the base of the beautiful Ngong Hills on part of the Karen Blixen estate, made famous by the book and movie “Out of Africa.”

The beads are handmade from clay dug at Mount Kenya. All the shapes and decorative designs are developed by the women and represent African culture and beauty. Pottery cups, bowls, plates, and other table items are also made here and are for sale in the gift shop.

Both of these fair trade organizations have warehouses in the US and will ship products to clubs and churches who wish to sponsor alternative gift opportunities for consumers.

For Amani yaa Juu, see the Facebook Page for the Chattanooga, TN warehouse at Amani ya Juu (Peace from Above) or the website.

For Kazuri Beads, see Kazuri America.