At pipler, we love a good story. Especially when it builds and helps a community. That's why we carry Falling Whistles.
They are a not for profit organization supporting the Congolese economy by investing in visionaries, from those who are working to return abducted children to their families, or people helping to distribute low cost malaria treatments. Falling Whistles does not just give them money to start their business, they help write business plans, and work with the people to help their businesses become profitable, thus repaying the loan and allowing FW to continue to donate that money back to other projects. Here is a story about one such visionary, directly from their website:
Blaise lives in Bukavu, the capital city of South Kivu, and a border town in the heart of Congo’s conflict region. Blaise uncovers opportunity where others see only despair.
Before Blaise came along, his resource-rich home was needlessly importing food and medicine, specifically a pricy, quinine-based malaria pill. Quinine, a medicinal compound capable of basic malaria treatment, exists naturally in the bark of Congo’s Quina trees.
So Blaise posed a question – if Quinine grows all over Congo, why are we importing it?
This young Congolese entrepreneur devised a solution. It began with a co-op of farmers. Quina trees were growing freely in their fields, but they were simply taking up space. Blaise commissioned them to extract the bark. He identified a supply chain. From the farm to the points of distribution, Blaise built the foundations for a local, self-sustaining business.
But there was one problem. Transportation. He needed $14,000 to begin transport of the raw materials to the processing plant. In a place where systems for credit and loans are nearly non-existent, he needed a business loan.
So FW gave him the $14,000. He built the transportation system. And then his business got the malaria treatment to 330,000 people. His business is now profitable.
This is just the beginning. Blaise’s business is growing. He is a whistleblower.
Falling Whistles broadly supports peace in the Congo. They have donated about 20% of their profits to their work in the Congo, and create awareness for their cause by selling their famous whistle necklace. The whistle is representative of taking a stand, it is a tool of protest and raises awareness for the cause. The story on its beginning, from their website:
In 2008, a young traveler named Sean traveled through eastern Congo to learn about a war he knew nothing about. Just a few days later he found himself in a military encampment, where he met five boys being held prisoner by the national army. The boys had been child soldiers, taken from their homes and forced to fight for two different rebel groups, until one night they escaped and ran to the national army for refuge.
Now in the hands of their own military, they were being treated as enemies of the state. He spent the day with the boys, trading stories, laughter and tears. One boy told him of children too small to carry guns being sent to the frontlines, armed with only a whistle. After he and his partner worked with the UN to have the boys released.
Falling Whistles started with no home, no office and no plan—just $5 and a dream worth our everything. We pulled desks from dumpsters, put them in a garage, and launched a campaign for peace in Congo.
In 2013, we celebrated the appointments of 2 Special Envoy’s from the US and the UN with mandates to end the war.
In 2012, a digital petition pushed to stop the M23 rebel group in its tracks by drying up its primary source of financing. In 2011, Congolese voters were given the power to monitor their own elections with SMS and radio technology.
History tells us that all great shifts have small beginnings.
Peace in Congo, or peace anywhere for that matter, won’t come in a single dramatic leap.
It will be the accumulation of millions of steps, day after day, away from oppression and toward liberty.
Run with us.
Show your support and be a whistleblower.
Black, Gunmetal, or Original (silver). 84cm Chain (nice and long!).