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JoyBinge Ep. 15: Time for Massive Cheesecake

Listen to the episode here or on SoundCloud through the links below!

Listen to the episode here!

Listen to the last episode here!

Hi and welcome to JoyBinge, a podcast where we re-learn that good things are happening in the world and celebrate those good things because we are tired of only hearing about the bad crap. Our names are Sinow and Kimmy and we are not journalists or professionals of any sort in the news industry. We are just in need of some happy news and want to share what we find. Let’s binge on some joy!


The Cape Town schools learning from transgender students

  • The article is from BBC and published on Jan 2nd

  • South Africa is in the midst of an important change regarding trans students in their schools

  • About 20 schools in Cape Town have made accommodations on campus to support their --transgender students such as adding single-gender toilets, gender-neutral uniforms and allowing students to use their new names

  • The principal of Westerford High School, Rob le Roux, told BBC, “The biggest change was in attitude. We had meetings with staff, parents and children to discuss how to deal with these types of requests.”

  • Ron Addinall is a sexologist and social psychologist at the University of Cape Town

  • The article states, that “According to Ron Addinall, … schools in the area have led the way in understanding the needs of transgender students.

  • “The number of transgender students who have gone public has also been rising dramatically, he says, thanks to growing awareness of what it means to be transgender.

  • “Mr. Addinall, who has been advising schools as well as parents and their transgender children on dealing with transitions, says many teachers told him they were initially unaware they had transgender students in their classes.”

  • Homophobia and transphobia still exist in South Africa, as it does in many other places in the world. Lots of work needs to be done for legal protections and general acceptance in society.

  • The Centre for Risk Analysis at the South African Institute of Race Relations reports that the national average of LGBT+ individuals who are open about their sexuality rests at about 57%

  • However in areas like Limpopo province, the rate is only 35% whereas in Cape Town the percentage is 70%

  • More than that, the black LGBT+ community in South Africa is typically less open about their sexuality than the white or mixed-race communities. According to the article, “The report says black LGBT people may be more reluctant to reveal their sexuality because they are ‘more likely to be victims of physical violence than those in other race groups.’”

  • Addinall is also concerned about the support trans students are receiving in rural and pre-urban schools. The township schools do not have as many resources as the city schools do so their students suffer more prejudice because of this.

  • Thankfully Mr. Addinall is working hard with schools to continue making the change

  • He told BBC, “Things would be much better if we had a national policy that clearly stipulates how transgender learners should be supported and cared for.”

  • The article talks about students experiences in school ranging from good to bad so if you want to read more about this issue, be sure to check out the article!

Inside Mother Camp: the woman tackling Afghanistan's drug problem

  • Article is from The Guardian, written by Ruchi Kumar, published on January 2nd

  • Laila Haidari has dedicated her time, efforts, and compassion for the last 8 years to those suffering with drug addiction in Kabul through her center called Mother Camp

  • During that time, she has assisted around 4,800 Afghans

  • It all started when her brother fell into drug addiction. She told The Guardian, “I cared for my brother and helped him recover, even if it was briefly, because I believe that he deserved to be saved. He was a good man.” She goes on to say, “Each of the addicts who pass through her shelter are good people who’ve gone astray … and they serve a second chance.”

  • The center was named by previous receivers of Haidari’s care back in 2010

  • Kumar quoted her as saying, “I used to look after them, clean them, cook for them and sometimes even feed the weaker ones. That is when they started to call me ‘mother’.”

  • Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of opium, around 80% according to the article

  • The article reports, “In November 2017, the UN reported that opium production had increased by 87% over the previous 12 months to a record high, despite almost two decades of counter efforts by the US.”

  • Afghanistan does have shelters that assist with drug addiction but all 27 shelters supported by the government and 115 other types of centers are completely overrun with needs and don’t have enough support themselves to offer

  • The article states, “ a country of 35 million people, an estimated 2.9 million are addicts.”

  • Unfortunately those battling addiction are seen as criminals and a nuisance in Afghanistan

  • Haidari has suffered death threats and resistance from her community regarding the camp

  • “Mina Sharifi, the founder and director of Sisters4Sisters, a mentorship programme for Afghan girls, says, … “We’re so far behind in even understanding what addiction is, never mind accepting it as a disease to be treated. If we wait for society and the government to catch up, that’s an immeasurable loss of valuable lives.”

  • She goes on to say, “Laila has combined addressing drug addiction with being a female lead in the fight. These are two huge things that many people here have a problem with. Her critics are scared of change and intimidated by what her success, with almost no money, says about their progress.”

  • But she used her own savings to open it and has served a lot of people. In 2018 alone she assisted 117 new additions

  • Kumar wrote, “It costs between $1,500 and $3,000 every month to run the shelter depending on how many residents it hosts. The costs are met by Haidari and friends and family. She’s yet to receive any money from government or international organisations.”

  • To support the center, Haidari opened a restaurant called Taj Begum, which translates to “the crown of a queen”

  • Most of her clients are homeless individuals and they have trouble keeping track of about 20% of them after they leave. Some will relapse and come back but many are in various stages of recovery

  • She tells Kumar, “Cutting them off completely from drugs is the main step and and the important one. In our experience it has never had a negative effect. But it helps them become determined in their mission of getting rid of addiction.” Doctors are available if there are any problems.

  • A film has been made about Haidari’s work called, Laila At The Bridge. The trailer is on YouTube so be sure to check it out!

  • There is also a GoFundMe dedicated to support Mother Camp so be sure to check that out if this story moves you!

Americans Are Optimistic About The Future — Just Don't Ask About Politics

  • Article from NPR, written by Francesca Paris, published on Dec 28, 2018

  • NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll reported that 60% Americans are “optimistic about the world in 2019, compared with just 37 percent whose outlook is less rosy. (That leaves 3 percent of the country as merely ambivalent, if you’re counting.)”

  • Apparently back in 2011, only 54% of the general population in the United States felt positive about the new year

  • There’s a pretty interesting graph included in the article that shows the positive people are mostly feeling that way due to family whereas the pessimists are citing politics as their driving force in their negativity

  • Our low unemployment rate is also a driving factor in the optimists reasons to feel positive as the unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in 50 years

  • But the biggest difference between the optimists and the pessimists of this poll were due to what they considered when answering the question

  • Barbara Carvalho is the director of The Marist Poll at the Marist Institute for Public Opinion and she told Paris, “When optimistic people were asked what it was that made them optimistic, they spoke to their personal lives. They looked inward.”

  • Paris pointed something interesting out about the poll, “Nearly two-third of pessimistic Americans, or 64 percent, reported politics as the primary cause of their negative outlook. To put it another way, about the same number of respondents were bummed out by politics as were uplifted by their families.”

  • The article goes on to talk about the political impact our government has had on people which is interesting if you want to read further

  • Resolutions haven’t really changed much according to the poll

  • Most people are interested in eating better, exercising, spending less, etc

  • “Close to 1 in 10 respondents has resolved to ‘be a better person.’”

  • Even with that statistic, “Fifty-six percent of respondents say they’re unlikely to resolve to change anything at all when the clock strikes midnight.”

  • But Millennials are surprisingly keeping with traditional and making resolutions while people over the age of 60 are not as likely to make any.

HOMESLICE from Scotland & Texas


First community-run 'food pantry' opens in Scotland

  • Article from The Guardian, written by Libby Brooks, published on Dec 21, 2018

  • People in Aberdeen are opening a new type of food pantry that battles the stigma surrounding food banks. It’s called Woodside Pantry and is supported by FareShare, a charity that focuses on reducing food waste and combating hunger in Scotland.

  • The article states, “Members of the Woodside Pantry will pay an annual fee of £3, then a charge of £2.50 per shop, which allows them to pick 10 items from an array of fresh, frozen and packaged produce.”

  • The pantry’s purpose is to serve communities with higher rates of poverty. Stigma surrounding food banks has grown quite a bit over the last several years so having a food pantry with a membership is revolutionary to help people feel like they are putting something back into the pantry that is helping them out.

  • The article quotes one of the pantry workers, “Duncan, 36, works part-time at the after-school club, which is housed in the same community centre as the pantry. ‘You’d be amazed at the number of people who come in here asking for a food parcel. The pantry doesn’t have the stigma, and if you know the amount you are paying then you can budget for it.’”

  • “Claire Whyte, a community worker with Fersands and Fountain Community Project, explains that food banks in the area are not able to meet demand: ‘People feel embarrassed to use them and, longer term, a food bank is not sustainable.’”

  • “‘What struck me was that local people were so passionate about it. This is also about meeting your neighbours. Part of poverty is social isolation because you can’t afford to do things. You pay only a token amount but it makes you equal to everybody else.’”

  • The type of food available in the pantry is important. Those in poverty usually only have access to unhealthier options. The article reports, “Stocked by the food redistribution charity FareShare, the heaving shelves include brightly coloured peppers, branded goods such as Covent Garden soups and Persil washing capsules, as well as frozen sirloin steaks and whole chickens.”

  • “‘It’s great that they have fresh fruit, because that’s so expensive, and it’s good for school snacks for my daughter. It is difficult on my income, especially at this time of year.’”

  • One quote that cracked Sinow up, “Registering for membership at this week’s launch event, Emma Duncan had her eye on some lamb shanks and a “massive” cheesecake she spotted in the freezer.”

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Performs For Dementia Patients

  • Article from CBS DFW published on Dec 18, 2018

  • The last concert of the year for Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra was for a the dementia patients of the James L. West Center for Dementia Care

  • ​Music is a great form of therapy and connection for those dealing with memory loss

  • Gary Cole sponsored the event in memory of his late wife Nina Marie who was in the center’s care for several years before her death in 2016

  • The article has a video showing the orchestra performing and a quote from Gary Cole where he told CBS News that he would play music for his wife, “It gave her joy which is hard to find in that process of descending into dementia.”

  • Many memory care centers here the in DFW will have activities and events planned for their clients to help ease the journey with dementia

  • My grandmother lives with dementia and her memory care center has live music and performers visit the home fairly often and for every holiday

Thanks for listening to some of the joy found in the world this past week. If you have stories of good people doing good things in your neighborhood or anywhere, send them to me! I’ve got an email, or tweet at me @joybingepodcast or visit our Facebook page and Instagram account. TELL ME THE GOOD STUFF!


The music for this podcast is "Industrious Ferret" by Kevin MacLeod. Thanks for listening and have a great week!

"Industrious Ferret" Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License


Dallas, TX


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