Good News: Women in Algeria Conquer Mixed Martial Arts and a Bike-Powered Music Festival

News that makes you feel better – it’s a real thing. Every Friday, the good news section of Euronews brings you a selection of positive news from around the world.

This week we look at how a charity is helping homeless people cope with heatwaves; a bicycle-powered music festival stage; a beach made accessible to the blind in Egypt, the first sustainable school in Colombia; and how women in Algeria grapple with mixed martial arts, a sport traditionally dominated by men.

Watch the video above to learn more about each story, or read below.

1. How a charity is helping homeless people cope with heat waves

Of all the challenges faced by people living on the streets, one of the worst is having nowhere to wash or change clothes. And during the recent heat waves, the homeless have felt the full force.

The Agora center in Paris hopes to change that. Oasis created by the international association Emmaüs Solidarité, it offers refuge to those who have nowhere to go.

The heat wave knocks you out, says Cissé Amour, homeless person attending the Agora since November 2021, “You get knocked out. And you just need a refuge in a cool place, where you can shower, where you can quench your thirst, or maybe have a snack, and that is the main objective. Because it’s hard to live, you know. For us, it’s quite difficult, “

Between 200 and 300 homeless people can benefit from a shower at the center every day. They have access to drinking water and can refresh themselves, but they can also meet social workers and participate in activities.

Abdel Bemra, homeless attending the Agora since 2019, is grateful to him. “We feel good with them. They welcome us very well, very calmly. We have showers, entertainment, cinema, football and petanque. We’re very good here, that’s why we come here every day, it’s quiet, there’s air conditioning, there’s everything we need.”

Emmaüs Solidarité also organizes daily patrols to direct homeless people to their reception centres, especially during very hot weather.

2. The bicycle-powered music festival stage

Summer is festival season. No matter where you are, you can be sure to find a place where you can swing to the music of your favorite artist or discover new obscure bands.

This week we take you to the Newport Folk Festival in the USA, known for creating electrifying musical moments. New for 2022 is a small outdoor stage that is powered in part by festival-goers on stationary bikes.

The stage is equipped with solar panels which will provide most of the power for the amps and other equipment, while the bikes will provide the rest.

When the show starts, fans jump on six folding bikes next to the stage. Their pedaling then generates electricity, and in exchange, they get a front row seat. All sorts.

Sarah Gaines, a festival attendee, loves bikes and the idea of ​​a bike stage: “I love riding a bike. First of all, we cycled here today, so any opportunity to cycle in a different way, I would probably be there for it,” she says.

Gaines also thinks it’s time for everyone to be more proactive “and come up with solutions that don’t rely on traditional energy sources.” So I was really excited that they were doing that here. I also really like Madi Diaz, and it was in the front row for five minutes, which was really a pleasure.”

3. The beach made accessible to the blind in Egypt

The Mediterranean city of Alexandria has allocated a spot for the blind and visually impaired, as part of an initiative launched last year to dedicate part of the beach to people with special needs.

Access to the sea is marked with floating ropes that swimmers can hang on to when they are in the water.

For Ahmed Yasser, it has revolutionized his days at the beach, “I have never been happier with anything than this beach because having a beach for people with special needs to swim and enjoy their time is a wonderful thing”, he says.

Going into the water without a guide would normally leave Yasser exhausted and disoriented, so that changes everything.

Lifeguards and assistants are also on hand to help swimmers and give them whistles to use in case they get into sticky situations.

4. The first sustainable school in Colombia

Colombia inaugurated the first sustainable school in the country and the fourth in Latin America.

The building is fully self-sufficient in energy and water. It has a photovoltaic system that will produce clean energy for the operation of the school and will also supply the surplus to the municipal network. It also has reservoirs for the collection and distribution of rainwater and wetlands for the treatment of gray and black water.

The school was built with 40% recycled materials such as aluminum cans, glass bottles and tires, and local materials and techniques were used, such as the use of palm fronds for the roofs of the school. class workshop.

The construction also includes insect hotels, nest boxes, a compost bin, vegetable gardens and a native seed bank. The objective is to teach students and the community to preserve biodiversity.

The new school will accommodate 52 students and two teachers daily and will accommodate some 840 students from the region.

The project was designed by Plan B, a renowned architectural firm from Medellín, Colombia, and was built with the support of the Municipality of San Jerónimo and students of the Light Construction Course.

The project was led by Tagma, a Uruguayan non-profit organization dedicated to developing innovative projects focused on education and sustainability in Latin America, with support from DirecTV, Disney and National Geographic.

5. How women in Algeria struggle with mixed martial arts

You may have heard of Ronda Rousey, the first American to officially compete in 2011 in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the professional mixed martial arts organization.

But could you name an Algerian champion? Chances are, you can’t. But we don’t blame you.

Mixed martial arts are relatively new in Algeria, and combat sports are generally male-dominated – although the country has produced international female fighters in judo and karate for decades.

Now MMA has begun to attract female practitioners, like those who attend the Zone Fight Club in the city of Tlemcen to learn how to fight with Professor Mohammed Zahraoui.

Professor Zahraoui says that society’s view between the present and the past for women in martial arts is changing. “In the past, it was difficult for women to practice this sport. Society and families were afraid of this sport. But now it’s okay, they practice this sport like any other, there is an acceptance by society and families for this sport. Now women practice this sport without difficulty. The government also encourages women’s sport,” he says.

Madjnoun Wafaa, a young woman who trains at the Zone Fight Club five times a week, entered the sport seeking an education in self-defense, “to avoid street issues and assaults on women. Society seems to believe that a woman is weak. After starting this sport, I loved it. To develop myself in this sport and participate in championships.”

If you’re still hungry for more positive news, there’s more above.

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