Sekombi is the man. He and his crew of young journalists are pioneering free-speech in a warzone. They built the fastest growing radio station in Eastern Congo and gave an outlet to young and vibrant Congolese artists and thinkers.
Sekombi is the man. Straight up. He is pioneering free-speech in a war-zone.
And he is doing it with style at Mutaani.
He is an award winning dancer, a filmmaker, an activist, a creative and an entrepreneur. And does all of this while living in Goma, a city at the heart of this war – and in a region where information is censored to satisfy political agendas.
A few years ago, Sekombi decided it was time for a different message. He rallied a young, ambitious team, and together they launched Mutaani, a radio station run by Congolese citizens, for Congolese citizens.
Every day the office is packed with young people working their tails off to deliver music and daily content to listeners in a war zone. And it’s catching on. Right now Mutaani is Goma’s #1 station.
Last November, Congo’s elections were on the horizon and violence was in the streets. People were dying.
We did something we rarely do. We asked for donations, and you answered. You put $18,100 behind a plan developed by IDEO & Mutaani to broadcast uncensored, open-source news during a chaotic vote.
Sekombi is a whistleblower, leading a movement toward free expression in Congo. We are committed to backing his vision and that means working to make Mutaani financially sustainable.
The first step in that direction is the creation of the Mutaani Recording Studio. A place where Congolese musicians can use high-quality technology to record, mix and master their music. They will pay Mutaani for the studio time, and provide the radio with the freshest music coming straight from the streets of Goma.
Christine is a hero. In her early 20′s she left her job and rallied her family to work with hundreds of the most vulnerable children in Congo.
Christine was young when her father abandoned her family. Her mother was left to raise seven children on her own, so Christine went to work to feed her family. Then the Goma volcano erupted, displacing her family to a refugee camp. Eventually, she returned to Congo, and baked donuts to pay her way through university.
Christine finished school, scored a job, and began a new life.
But then something happened. She encountered a group of kids, living on the streets after having fled the war. Day after day she found herself going to hang out with them after work.
To Christine these were not homeless children. Congo’s future generation was growing up with the same fear and uncertainty she knew in childhood. She knew Congo could not change unless the youth were protected.
When Christine’s family found out she was working to change what they had together overcome, they decided to support her vision. As a family they pooled their resources and provided start-up costs for what is now CAMME.
Christine is our first partner. On our first trip to Congo we heard about Christine’s work and went to check it out. We stepped through those doors to find a place with so much vibrance, so much personality, and so much love, that we couldn’t help but dig deeper. Here was a place that was safe for kids who had known nothing but danger. A place that now teaches over 400 vulnerable kids the values of peace rather than violence.
When there was no money at FW, we committed to getting CAMME $3000 a month. To pull it off, we started selling whistles out of our pockets every where we went. It has been over 3 years and we have never missed a month.
Since that day FW has invested $100,869.14 into Christine’s vision. She has, very consistently, and very deliberately, put that money into art and sports therapy, a nutrition initiative feeding 330 kids every day, and life skills such as sewing, carpentry, mechanics, and photography classes. Today CAMME is a small beacon of young energy, creativity, safety and love for the kids on the streets of Congo.
Christine is a whistleblower.
Dr. Jo came home to warzone, where his talents were needed most. He built a hospital where he trains hundreds of doctors and serves hundreds of thousands of people.
Dr. Jo is far more vibrant than the colorful photographs that try to capture him. At 67 he is abnormally energetic, an orthopedic surgeon with no plans to retire, a man of deep faith, and a guy who never passes on an opportunity to crack a good joke.
The only practice that truly matches Dr. Jo’s enthusiasm for life is his love of medical outreach for vulnerable children.
When war began in Congo’s eastern region, Dr. Jo envisioned a new generation of medical professionals who shared his passion for rural medicine, and accomplished it with excellence.
Amidst the chaos of conflict, Dr. Jo went to work. He and his wife opened a training hospital in Goma, the capital city of North Kivu, and in the heart of the war region.
The project’s survival was always in flux. For over a decade, many obstacles have tested the perseverence of Dr. Jo and his team. Goma’s volcano erupted and destroyed their facilities. They rebuilt the hospital. The global recession hit and they lost funding. They found more. The war displaced millions. They continue to care for them – one by one.
You bought a whistle. You cast a vote for peace in Congo. And you put $60,000 behind 260 orthopedic surgeries for disabled children. Dr. Jo is a whistleblower. He and the team at HEAL Africa have now trained 30 young doctors, who have in turn treated thousands of war-affected Congolese.
You can donate directly to Dr. Jo and HEAL Africa here.
Justine has organized over 30 women’s groups to form a fierce movement. The solutions to Congo will come from the Congolese, and these women are proving it.
Justine and her family are from North Kivu, a province that has known war and rape for over a decade. A region where sexual violence was once deliberately overlooked.
In 2002 Justine decided to change that. She rallied a coalition of women’s rights groups and became the bullheaded leader, demanding global action against the rape epidemic in eastern Congo.
That coalition is now called Synergie. Synergie works to physically and psychologically restore women, expose rapists, and bring these abusers to justice.
Falling Whistles has invested $10,525.00 into Synergy for workshops for survivors, and legal trials for victims. Working toward the day when women can take their rapists to court, and put them behind bars.
Just this year, Justine has received numerous death threats from the warlord Bosco.
He is rebel-leader who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court. He is notorious for terrorizing innocent civilians and is nicknamed “The Terminator.”Justine was brave enough to speak out against Bosco. She is currently in hiding and we are actively working to support her fight.
Justine is a whistleblower.
From inside the warzone, Arnold works to make sure refugees are taken care of, abducted children are returned, women are protected, and the world has access to information that has been historically shrouded in secrecy.
It was 18 years ago, and Arnold was just finishing high school in Goma. On a bright clear day in early April a charter plane crashed in Rwanda. The Rwandan President was on board.
Arnold watched as Congo’s neighbor unraveled. In 100 days Rwandans killed 800,000 of their fellow citizens.
In the aftermath of the Rwandan Genocide, eight international armies waged a war that killed and displaced millions of Congolese. Arnold and a few close friends knew they had rights, but they didn’t know how to use them for protection. Instead of wielding weapons, Arnold and his friends dove into the war to protect the defenseless.
That journey eventually became SOPROP. A human-rights organization that educates those within the war about their rights and provides them with medical, psychological, and legal support to keep themselves and their loved ones alive.
You bought a whistle. You cast a vote for peace in Congo. You put $26,096.63 behind Arnold’s vision.
Arnold put that money we sent into building a counseling center for former child soldiers and war-affected youth. There they also provide basic job skills for women who have survived sexual violence.
Just after the U.S. passed legislation on conflict-minerals, Arnold and Monique traveled together to the first international conference on cleaning up the supply chain. There in Nairobi Kenya they strongly advocated for the rights of local miners whose jobs were being threatened by the international regulations. They have continued to work closely together in collecting data from some of the most dangerous places on Earth, and getting it to the policy makers.
In a region where rights are exploited more often than protected, Arnold risks his life every day defending his people. Arnold is a whistleblower.