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Falling Whistles director to speak about the DRC, child soldiers

Published: Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Updated: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 08:10

falling whistles

Courtesy Paula Trues

Yves Muya, left, and Sean Carasso will speak at the Falling Whistles event tonight in Barnum 008.

The Interfraternity Council (IFC) tonight will host Sean Carasso, the founder and chief executive officer of Falling Whistles, a non−profit organization that works to raise awareness about the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The conflict is estimated to have resulted in the deaths of more than 6 million people over the past decade. In particular, Falling Whistles aims to spotlight the use of children as soldiers in the conflict and raise awareness about their plight. The organization also directly addresses the issue by raising funds for a child soldier rehabilitation program.

Carasso will speak at the event alongside Yves Muya, a Congolese refugee and activist. The event, to take place at 7:30 p.m. in Barnum 008 is part of Falling Whistles' ongoing nationwide tour to raise awareness about the conflict in the DRC. The organization will visit more than 30 cities on its current tour, which has been on the road since Sept. 7.

Representatives from the organization visited the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last night, according to Falling Whistles Intern Paula Trues.

"The whole tour is about building relationships and trust with community members and create a coalition of people who care about this issue," Trues told the Daily. "In other areas, we have retail events and go to middle schools and high schools."

Tonight's event will include a video screening about the conflict in the DRC and the children living there.

"Falling Whistles visits community centers, colleges and high schools to talk about the conflict, how it affects our world and what we can do about it," senior Megan Kono, one of the event's organizers, said. Kono heard about the organization's work last year and played a role in bringing Carasso to Tufts in the spring under the sponsorship of Alpha Tau Omega of Massachusetts (ATO), of which she is a member.

Kono said Falling Whistles also aims to raise awareness about "conflict−zone materials," which include elements built into cell phones and other electronics. Buying products that incorporate these materials can indirectly contribute to fueling the conflict, she said.

Kono said that the organizers reached out to relevant departments at Tufts to publicize the event, including the Peace and Justice Studies Program, the Department of Political Science and the International Relations Program. They also contacted the Institute for Global Leadership (IGL) and student groups.

IFC Vice President of Philanthropy Emily Shaw, who is also the president of ATO, also helped organize the event.

"We started talking to Falling Whistles in the middle of September and made sure they came to this area and were going to speak at Tufts," Shaw, a junior, said.

Shaw expects the event to draw a crowd. "We're expecting a decent turnout," she said. "A lot of people who were told about the event were really excited and want to come."

The IFC has an ongoing relationship with Falling Whistles, according to Shaw.

"We're also looking to have another speaker come in November," Shaw said. "Our big plan for this year is to help each other out and create a more supportive Greek system."

Trues highlighted the dynamic nature of Falling Whistles.

"It's been really cool to be a part of an organization that's growing, especially to see how much it changes over a month," Trues said.

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