Kisii is a rural area with limited employment opportunities. SMOLart also assists community-based projects to improve health, education, shelter and environmental initiatives as well as AIDS awareness campaigns. SMOLart has participated in a tree planting project, a spring water project and plans to establish a library for the community at their headquarters. The group's mission goes beyond providing a fair wage to artisans, they seek to eradicate poverty among their members, promote fair trade, oppose discrimination and to support community efforts and to manage resources
Established in 1990, SMOLart is a member of the WFTO, and as such assures that the artisans are paid a fair price for their work. In addition, the organization support community development by contributing to projects that improve living conditions, education, and health of their members and the village at large.
Soapstone is mined from great pits in the area surrounding Kiisi, Kenya. The mined soapstone is then delivered to carvers who carve sculptures from the natural stone for the wholesale market, the color of which ranges from cream, to pink, to brown, to yellow, to black, to a marbling of all of them. Once carved, the craftspeople smooth rough edges of the soapstone with sandpaper dipped in water and polish the piece to a high gloss or paint African motifs in brilliant colors with etched accents.
All of the soapstone products we sell are completely handmade. The tools consist of household items from screwdrivers, hand drills, to switchblades. "Pangas," sword-like tools usually used for cutting down vegetation, are used to cleave the stone in the mines.