Phyllis Kurzer’s Karma Mala

Talk about good karma.

After Westporter Phyllis Kurzer finished yoga teacher training, she wanted to wear a mala (a string of beads or knots, used in praying or meditating) to enhance her spiritual connection.

She could not find a mala with the unique, artistic design and metaphysical properties she was looking for. So she taught herself how to make one.

She found a source in Nepal, and created her first hand-knotted mala with a prayer box pendant.

The interest it generated launched a business. It’s called Karma Mala.

One of Phyllis Kurzer's malas.

One of Phyllis Kurzer’s malas…

Phyllis designs every mala. She acquires pendants from India and other tribal reaches. She pairs them with beautiful semi-precious stones, hand-knotting between each bead.

It’s a meticulous process, but true to tradition.

...and another.

…and another.

Phyllis’ goal is to make malas that are beautiful to wear — and also offer hope to the most vulnerable people.

The Westport artist learned that every year, 20,000 girls are trafficked in Nepal. Within 2 years, most become HIV positive. By age 20, they are dead.

Phyllis discovered the American Himalayan Foundation’s Stop Girl Trafficking project. It prevents young girls from becoming victims of their family’s poverty and desperation, by putting them in school, then weaving a safety net around them.

The program provides everything a girl needs. It then mentors her, and educates her family and community about the dangers of trafficking.

There are now over 10,750 girls in more than 550 schools throughout Nepal. Once enrolled, not a single girl has been lost to trafficking.

Amazingly, Phyllis says, it takes only $100 to keep a girl safe and in school for one year.

Phyllis Kurzer

Phyllis Kurzer

Where does the money come from?

A lot of it comes directly from Karma Mala. Phyllis donates 100% — yes, every penny of profit — to Stop Girl Trafficking. Since she began last year, that’s over $20,000.

Phyllis has just introduced a brand-new collection. Half malas (54-bead malas that can be worn alone, or layered with others), traditional malas, wrist wraps, featherweight designs and gemstone layering necklaces are all available. They’re beautiful to wear, and functional for meditation.

Not to mention, life-changing for vulnerable, at-risk girls, halfway around the world from Westport.

(For more information or to order, click Phyllis’ direct email is For a video on Stop Girl Trafficking, click below. Hat tip: Jamie Camche)

17 responses to “Phyllis Kurzer’s Karma Mala

  1. Jamie Camche

    Always wonderful to read about our local heroes. Thank you Dan and 06880. You Rock !

  2. Phyllis is an inspiration….a true artist with a generous spirit! Hoping more and more people learn about her beautiful malas & the girls she is helping!

  3. Having worked in southeast asia for three years in similar projects for girls as Phyllis , I know it makes a huge difference..great work Phyllis……how can I contact you re. your Mala s ? 🙂

  4. Thank you Dan for providing awareness, not only about Karma Mala, but the epidemic of human trafficking. This work has truly become a labor of love for me. Anyone interested can either go to to make an online purchase, or email me at to schedule a private appointment to view the collection in person. Prevention is Rescue Without Suffering!

  5. Amazing effort, Phyllis. Thanks for this story.

  6. What a fantastic way to use one’s creativity to protect young woman from human trafficking. This is such an admirable and selfless endeavor. Can’t wait to buy one knowing the important cause I’m supporting.
    You are extraordinary hero Phyllis.

  7. Phyllis, you are such an inspiration. Your artistic creations are stunning and clearly filled with so much love. It’s really wonderful to see the work you are doing to help Stop Girl Trafficking. What a gift!

  8. Thank you Maria, and for being the first to offer a trunk show venue for Karma Mala!

  9. Marcy Anson Fralick Staples '70

    I am very particular about the causes I support financially, and most are either animal or ecological conservation causes. This cause is the first human cause I can get behind 100% because it affects innocent, young and impoverished girls forced into one of the most vile and brutal, illegal operations in the world. And it happens all over the world.

    Thank you, Dan, for introducing us to Phyllis, her beautiful beads and her efforts to help these young girls break the cycle of sexual exploitation and international trade. Good Karma has certainly blessed Phyllis, and I am headed to the link you provided!

  10. ann Friedenberg

    Is this like the necklace you wanted at one time?
    Click on the website at the bottom.
    Love you!

    Sent from my iPad