Falling Whistles: A Campaign For Peace in Congo

16 Nov

Cheekie welcomes our newest contributer Laura Shetley to our team! In her first post, Laura profiles a young organization called Falling Whistles.

Last week, I attended a presentation by Falling Whistles at my school. I had never heard of the organization before press for the event started circulating, so I decided to check out the website. It brought tears to my eyes.

Falling Whistles evolved out of Sean Carasso’s snowballing passion and anger about the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Carasso is a free-spirited wanderer and friend of Blake Mycoskie, the founder of Tom’s Shoes. During one of his extended trips to the Congo, Sean found himself amidst lush rainforests and men with AK-47s. He came upon a war camp and noticed young children running around–they were clearly too small to carry guns.

After asking why they were there, Sean was told that the kids were given whistles and ordered to go to the front lines and blow the whistles when the enemy was coming. As they were shot and killed, their little bodies would fall and become a barricade for the soldiers to hide behind.

Sean was outraged and heartbroken. When he returned to the States, friends threw him parties where he spent his time yelling at everyone. He couldn’t handle the imbalance of what he had seen compared to the extravagance he was living in. He alienated himself. 

A friend saw what was happening and bought Sean a whistle on eBay to wear around his neck as a way to keep the children close to his heart. Wherever he went, people asked him about the necklace, and Sean soon realized that he could, in fact, calmly tell people where he had been and what he had seen. Soon, out of a need to do something, Sean and his friend began selling whistle necklaces. It caught on and Falling Whistles was born.

Yves and Sean

Falling Whistles’ goals is to raise awareness about the plight of the people in the Congo by using the whistles to start conversations. The core group, including Sean, is currently traveling around the U.S., stopping wherever a group will have them, to talk about what’s happening in the resource-rich country. Traveling with them is Yves Muya, a Congolese man who is a former refugee. He tells the story of his life in Congo before war affected his family and how he fled to other parts of Africa, finally immigrating to America and attending college. The stories of Sean and Yves make for a powerful and moving presentation.

Falling Whistles is still a fledgling organization, recently celebrating its two-year anniversary, but they are setting themselves up to be great. They just posted their first annual financial report online and the group is 100% transparent about where the monies go. They’ve made mistakes, as Sean readily admits, but they are intent on helping Congo turn itself into a safe, stable environment for everyone, especially those carrying the whistles.

Laura Shetley is a late twenty-something student in Washington, D.C. After being “distracted” for a few years after her first attempt at college, Laura discovered her true passion in life: helping others help themselves. She is currently working towards a degree in business administration and hopes to run a non-profit agency after completing her masters degree. Laura stays busy writing for her personal blog, singing karaoke, and hanging out with her self-described “Future Fiance” Dane.

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2 Responses to “Falling Whistles: A Campaign For Peace in Congo”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. I’m a Cheekie girl! « a civil urbanity - November 16, 2010

    […] Cheekie Post! […]

  2. Falling Whistles: A Campaign For Peace in Congo (via Cheekie) « kronikoles - December 26, 2010

    […] Last week, I attended a presentation by Falling Whistles at my school. I had never heard of the organization before press for the event started circulating, so I decided to check out the website. It brought tears to my eyes. Falling Whistles evolved … Read More […]

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