The headlines can be tricky, but some of the news is good news. Here’s your weekly summary of what’s going well in the world.
1. An anonymous donor pays off student loans for 100 students in the United States
2. The UK’s first gay history museum opens its doors
3. How does coping with loneliness among young people with disabilities
4. An Albanian farmer uses coffee waste to grow fruits and vegetables
5. How a man with no flying experience managed to land a plane
Watch the video above to learn more about each story, or read below.
1. Anonymous donor pays off student loans
Students at Wiley College in Marshall, East Texas, USA, received the ultimate graduation gift when they found out that a generous stranger had paid off their student loans.
100 students of the 2022 graduating class were told at their graduation ceremony on May 7 that they would be leaving college without debt.
Wiley Hermann College President J. Felton, Jr. told students, “You don’t owe the college a penny. If you have credit, you have a balance. You don’t have credit anymore.”
According to the school’s estimates, the combined debt amounted to $300,000 – the equivalent of €280,000.
Wiley College is HBCU – an official designation for historic black colleges and universities established prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the goal of primarily serving the African American community.
The liberal arts establishment made history in 1935 when the college debate team competed on an equal footing with whites for the first time in the American South. The team beat the reigning national debate champion, University of Southern California, to send a powerful message to a deeply discriminated country—a story told by the 2007 film The Great Debaters, directed and starring Denzel Washington.
2. The UK’s first gay history museum opens its doors
Celebrating, and bringing LGBTQ history and culture to all, Queer Britain, the UK’s first national LGBTQ+ museum, opened its doors on May 5 in London.
Located in a part of town with a “weird rich heritage” according to museum director and co-founder Joseph Galliano, a former editor of Gay Times, the museum plans to play a major role in preserving gay culture and history.
Museum director Stephanie Stevens told AFP:[The museum is] A permanent place for us to celebrate our identity, the wonderful contributions we have made to history, and to educate the nation to know those contributions as well.”
The museum will unveil its first exhibition in July, but a photography show is currently open to the public, featuring gay pioneers such as transgender woman Roberta Coyle, a racing driver and the first known British person to undergo a sex change operation, and Justin Fashanu, who in 1990 became the first to A footballer declares that he is gay.
3. In France, communal living in the house of “Fratries”
In France, nearly 7 million people are isolated, including 15 per cent of those aged 25 to 35. The rate is higher among people with mental or cognitive disabilities. But now, co-living initiatives aim to end this cycle of loneliness.
Axel Crochet, 29, with Down syndrome, confirmed her independence by moving to a communal house near Nantes. In her new home, she lives with four young adults with mental and cognitive disabilities, and five other young adults without disabilities, thanks to a project called “fratrez” (which roughly translates to fraternity or brotherhood in English).
“The really innovative character of Fratries is that here, there are no adults working to provide care for the elderly disabled,” co-founder Emmanuel de Carrion told AFP. Here, it’s really just sharing a house like no other.”
This social inclusion project is described as being unique in France, where the majority of young people with disabilities are forced to stay with their parents for lack of adequate housing.
During the day, caregivers come to the home to help disabled youths with dressing, shopping or cooking, depending on their needs. But other than that, everyone is equal. To live in Fratres’ house, disabled people pay between 700 and 800 euros on average per month, depending on their resources.
For Victoria Gunnarson, a non-disabled roommate who works as a teacher, this living arrangement means “simplicity, joy, and love every morning.”
“We discuss everything and anything, we ourselves and live in pure simplicity,” she added.
4. Ground coffee for cucumber cultivation in Albania
Europeans consumed 242 million kilograms of coffee between 2020 and 2021. This adds up to about 35 billion cups – and a lot of coffee waste.
From DIY makeup recipes to cleaning products, the internet is full of ideas on how to reuse and recycle ground coffee.
But Albanian farmer Alban Kakali has his own ideas. It turns coffee waste into fertilizer for tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and passion fruit, all at the same time combating the cost of living crisis.
“The idea came about because of the high prices of fertilizers and other pesticides used in agriculture… [making] “It’s impossible for us to deal with agriculture,” Kakali told the Associated Press.
The farmer collects up to 10 kilograms of ground coffee from local coffee shops every day. Then he mixes it with grass clippings and waits three months for it to turn into mulch.
“It would be good to recycle everything in agriculture,” he said. “The earth wants to feed it again and again, and the best way is to return all the fruit, all the waste in agriculture, back to the land.”
5. Beginner’s Guide to Airplane Landing
What would you do if you were in the middle of a flight, and suddenly the pilot could no longer fly the plane? Will you try it?
On May 10, a small aircraft pilot developed a medical emergency while flying over Florida. The single passenger had to be instructed by air traffic control via the cockpit radio to bring the plane down safely.
The passenger, who requested anonymity, told ATCs: “I have a dangerous situation here. My pilot has become incoherent and I have no idea how to fly the plane.”
They told him to “keep the wings level and just try to follow the coast, either north or south.” They were then able to locate him, and direct him to a safe landing at Palm Beach International Airport – something that can apparently be learned in about 20 hours with basic flight instructions.
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