Soapstone & Onyx Sculptures
Kisii Stone is type of soapstone found only in the Kisii region of South Western Kenya. Kisii Stone has a natural color ranging from pure white to soft pink and is mined by hand using shovels, crowbars, wedges and hammers by members of the Gussi Tribe.
When Kisii Stone is wet, it is malleable enough to be molded and carved. Each piece of soapstone is hand carved using saws, adzes, knives and a traditional type of Machete called a “Panga”. The sculpture is then sanded and the finer details are carved in. At this stage the artisan can add dyes, hand paint designs or choose to leave the stone its natural color. The carving is then finished with a final polishing using floor or shoe polish and a shredded “Sisal” rope.
Every purchase of a Kisii stone figure supports the Fair Trade Artisans of Tabaka, a cooperative group of soapstone carvers established to eradicate suffering in this area and provide an opportunity for a better quality of life.
Every sculpture purchased provides not only valuable employment and a fair wage, but the opportunity for the Tabaka group to give back to their community by providing loans, product design and development assistance, and advanced payment for their orders. Artisans are also provided with safety equipment and the opportunity to have health insurance and basic training for youth who are interested in learning skills for their future.
Kenya is a place of extreme destitution with a high rate of unplanned pregnancies due to prostitution, forced child labor, unsafe shelters, high death rates, school drop outs and unemployment. Fair Trade provides the dire need of holistic support that is needed to break the cycle of poverty and to provide hope for the future.
One World Fair Trade is honored to partner with Tabaka by selling their uniquely beautiful soapstone craft items. Your purchases ultimately help strengthen the community and help the artisans and their families break the cycle of poverty in the Kisii region of Kenya.