Nyabigena Soapstone is a producer Self Help Marketing organization for soapstone carvings in western Kenya. It was formed in 1989 at the quarry where carvers used to carve together and was registered in 1990.
The group has 150 members (120 men and 30 women), and their products are sold locally and internationally which include plates, statue, animal decorations among others. One such They also practice farming activities like dairy, poultry and horticulture.
Nyabigena means "land of soapstone." The areas surrounding the city of Kiisi in western Kenya are built on vast deposits of soapstone. Nyabigena is fortunate to own several quarries with the closest one within walking distance or a "stone's throw away."
The main objective of Nyabigena is to eliminate middlemen who buy goods at a low price, as well as assist the group members and the community to eradicate poverty.
The organization offers management training workshops, educational opportunities for widows and orphans, and health and nutrition education. They plan to start a tree nursery and to expand their educational and HIV/AIDS programs.
The carvers of Nyabigena have a workshop on the lower level of their three story building. The floor is carpeted with white soapstone dust. The open windows and door provide good ventilation. Several years ago, SERRV International provided safety equipment and tools for the carvers.
The carvers use very basic equipment. There are no electrical saws, lathes nor grinders or sanders. Everything is done by hand using chisels, small picks and clubs of wood. and yet, complex shapes with the most intricate details can be achieved. The carvers are capable of creating new designs as per customer's requests.
Cooperative or Membership Association, Fairtrade or Similar