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.
He went home that night and wrote the Falling Whistles journal. A single story of a single day. It was originally sent to about 80 friends and family, who forwarded it around the world.
Thousands of strangers wrote back asking:
what can we do?