Fair Trade in Kenya
Topanien Global Gifts chooses to buy from fair trade importers for our Soapstone African Sculptures from Kenya. We work with two small importing companies whose orders provide many African artisans with vital supplemental income. Even with a small staff, accountability is maintained with artisans by visiting groups in person at least once yearly.
Tabaka is a cooperative group of soapstone carvers from the Kisii tribe in Kenya. They believe in empowering their artisans by providing fair wages for their members and marketing opportunities for their products outside of Kenya. Topanien Global Gifts recently began working with a Tabaka importer in the United States so that we could offer our customers these artisans’ fine work and help provide a better standard of living for some of the Kisii people.
Tabaka provides a model for the community by encouraging women as well as men to get involved. Tabaka saves 15% of their income to help orphans, widows, handicapped, elderly, and HIV/AIDS victims whether or not they are part of the Tabaka cooperative. In this way, the community also benefits as the group continues to look for new and innovative ways to make a positive impact.
Sustainability and Artisan Advancement
– working with producers who value their natural environment and employ sustainable methods of production.
– providing artisans with a fair payment not to be reduced by traveling expenses, childcare costs and haggled prices.
Moses develops sample models for our other African Importer, (who is based in Oregon – our home state), and then helps the other artisans learn and fine tune the process of creating each item. He is insightful and incredibly helpful; often recommending ways to improve designs. Moses is a gentle Kenyan with a true artistic touch.
Artisans and staff work to provide us with the exciting, tactile, high quality Soapstone Sculptures we love while doing work to benefit themselves, their families and their communities.