Falling Whistles is a campaign for peace in the Congo. The whistle, as a symbol of protest, comes from a
Jewelry from War; shrapnel necklaces, cufflinks from weapons, bags from bombs and whistles for peace, a wide range of jewelry and accessories exist, made from weapons of destruction, as a means to draw attention to atrocities around the globe, and to promote peace. A growing number of entrepreneurs, artisans and activists have developed items of great beauty and sensitivity, from the very things that shattered lives and divided communities. A testament that beauty can come from ugliness, and that man’s inhumanity to man, is equally matched by our capacity to create and appreciate beauty.
Falling Whistles is a campaign for peace in the Congo. The whistle, as a symbol of protest, comes from a story of children too small to carry guns, sent to the front lines by rebel groups in the Congo, armed only with a whistle. The Falling Whistles Journal; A Single Story of a Single Day, was written by Sean, after hearing the child soldiers story first hand, when they were imprisoned by the National army, as enemies of the state. After working with the UN to negotiate the boy’s release, the journal was originally sent to friends and family, who forwarded it onto others. Asking the question, what can we do?
A chance gift from a friend that sparked interest in all that saw it, formed the basis of the idea. Selling whistles one at a time, the founders asked those that bought them to bare witness to this silent, deadly war unfolding unnoticed and unchallenged in the Congo. Taking a box of whistles from Austin to Texas to New York, the message grew in living rooms, and coffee shops along the way, with the following message “We don’t have all the answers, but we won’t be quiet while millions loose their lives.” In a classic version of pay it forward, the message was adopted and spread by many, first a hitchhiker named David, then three college students from Florida who biked to California with whistles in their backpacks. And so the message spread. In the five years Whistles for Peace have existed, they have built a coalition of 100,000 whistleblowers around the world, including retailers, societies and entrepreneurs, joined organizations and pushed for solutions, finally giving birth to two Special Envoy’s from the US and the UN with mandates to end the war. Peace is achieved through the accumulation of many daily steps, from oppression to liberty; Whistles for Peace are setting the pace.
Akawelle jewelry is handmade out of bullets from the Liberian war. Designer Lovetta Conto, crafts leaf shaped pendants from used, melted down bullet shells, and emblazons each one with the word “LIFE”. Conto is a seventeen year old, born in Liberia, West Africa, who fled to Ghana as a refugee with her father when she was a little girl. Growing up in a refugee camp, Conto was taught by her father to believe in her dreams. Attending school in the camp, and against all odds, Conto persevered, meeting the co-founder of the Strongheart Fellowship, Cori Stern at the camp.
Strongheart’s mission to change the future of those with difficult lives, so they can help others, is named after the Hemingway quote “The world breaks us all, and after some are stronger in the broken places.” Conto was chosen as the first Strongheart Fellow. As part of her fellowship, she had to create a project that would help her, and the world in some way. Taking inspiration from her memories of women in the camp, who always found a way to express their beauty through jewelry and clothes, Conto created the AKAWELLE necklace from bullet casings. The necklace is created from the thousands of spent shell casings scattered across the country. The delicate leaf pendant is handcrafted from the bullet shells, with the central bead formed from the bottom of the shell. Sales from the necklace fund Conto’s own future, as well as that of Strongheart House, a home and school for Strongheart Fellows. An ambassador for the program, Conto has spoken at the Texas Governor’s Women’s Conference, the Aspen Institute, appeared in newspaper articles and spoken on radio shows. She currently attends the African Leadership Academy in South Africa.
Emi & Eve, produce a line of small clutch bags and jewelry from ERW (Exploded Remnants of War), produced in various countries around the world recovering from war. The collection is made by skilled craftsmen in Cambodia, trained in the art of recycling bullets and bombshells, and providing a sustainable income for people rebuilding their lives post conflict. Emi & Eve are passionate about using ethical and artisanal sources, providing income to those that are most in need. Founder Cassandra Postema, who lives on Lamma Island, just outside of Hong Kong, works as an accessories designer, textile print designer and brand strategist for social enterprises. It was on a trip to Cambodia to speak to social enterprises about design support that she first came across the bomb recycling family, which she has since built a business around. And so the first Emi & Eve Peace Bracelet was born.
Fonderie 47 makes cufflinks from weapons; jewelry made from Africa’s decommissioned rifles. Based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the long-standing violent conflict has killed almost 4 million people, and garnered recognition as the world’s most lethal conflict since World War II. Fonderie 47 diverts and converts confiscated AK47 assault rifles into glittering jewelry. Partners Peter Thum and John Zapolski founded Fonderie 47 in 2009, because of their shared concern over the existence of an estimated twenty million assault rifles in Africa. The duo decided to create something compelling and substantial in response to these “cheap and abundant” instruments of violence. Enlisting the services of two master jewelers, Fonderie 47, created a beautifully crafted line of cufflinks, which can be assembled to form a bracelet, rings and earrings. The company has removed over 6,000 rifles to date, raising funds that finance non-governmental organizations such as Mines Advisory Group, tasked by the Congo’s government to demolish the weapons.
Saught is a social business that aims to create an international community that advocates collaboratively for peace building. Producing jewelry form landmines and unexploded ordnances, they support sustainability in post-conflict countries like Cambodia. The company collaborates with international de-mining organizations to obtain scrap metal, while the designers create pieces of art with local Cambodian artisans, helping them gain income while building their silks. Each product conveys this story, engaging consumers while lobbying for social change. Profits are reinvested into post conflict countries and developmental aid.
The founders of PeaceBOMB, developed techniques for using Unexploded Ordinances (UXO’s) to create bracelets and other fair trade accessories, available to international customers though ARTICLE22. Over 200 million tons of bombs are hidden in playgrounds, farmland and rice paddies across Laos, posing a significant threat to countless families. One out of three bombs dropped by the mid 1970’s failed to explode, leaving rural Laotians at risk. Between 1964 and 1973, one B52 bomb load fell on the country every eight minutes, twenty-four hours a day, for nine years. PeaceBOMB melt these symbols of destruction down, transforming them into tangible signs of peace, in the form of beautiful, fair trade jewelry.
The story began with a single creative Laotian, who was inspired to melt the bomb scraps down, and into spoons, teaching his neighbors to do the same. Building on the spoon maker’s inspiration, peaceBOMB developed techniques for using UXO’s to create bracelets and other fair trade accessories. Artisan’s hand carve wooden molds, while aluminum from the bombs is melted down in earthen kilns and poured into the molds. The jewelry is hand filed and stamped with powerful message such as Seek Peace, to create a connection between artisan and owner. Artisans are paid four times local market rate for their work, while funding community projects and providing micro loans for local family businesses. One bracelet generates a donation that covers the cost of clearing three-square meters of land from these dangerous UXO’s.
These brands and others like them, represent a beautiful and poetic response to the ugliness of war. A peaceful reaction to conflict, and a tangible reminder of the great number of people who live daily under threat of violence.
Falling Whistles is a campaign for peace in the Congo. The whistle, as a symbol of protest, comes from a
The whistle, as a symbol of protest, comes from a story of children too small to carry guns, sent to the front lines by rebel groups in the Congo, armed only with a whistle.
Akawelle jewelry is handmade out of bullets from the Liberian war. Designer Lovetta Conto, crafts leaf shaped pendants from used,
The incredible story of Lovetta Conto, and her incredible journey from refugee camp to a hero, with the support of the Strongheart Fellowship.
The raw materials for Emi & Eve’s collection of jewelry and purses, are bullet and bomb casings from Cambodia. Born
Bullets to beauty, a series of clutches and bracelets made from repurposed bullet casings in Cambodia.
Fonderie 47 makes cufflinks from weapons; jewelry made from Africa’s decommissioned rifles. Based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where
Fonderie 47 makes cufflinks from weapons; jewelry made from Africa’s decommissioned rifles.
Saught is a social business that aims to create an international community that advocates collaboratively for peace building. Producing jewelry
The founders of PeaceBOMB, developed techniques for using Unexploded Ordinances (UXO’s) to create bracelets and other fair trade accessories, available
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