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Meet the Young Palestinian Woman Turning Sunlight Into Power in Gaza

“Instead of wasting time complaining about how bad our situation is, I prefer to seek solutions for problems.”

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Palestinian Solar Power Gaza
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(TMU) — As the Palestinian enclave of Gaza endures its 12th year of a crippling siege by Israel and Egypt, about two million people have been deprived of clean water, decent healthcare, adequate employment, and reliable sources of energy.

Since Israeli occupying forces stepped up its blockade in 2016 and Egypt halted smugglers who brought fuel to Gaza, residents of the thin Mediterranean coastal strip have struggled to survive on only three hours of electricity per day—placing hospitals and other crucial buildings in a precarious position as they rely on expensive generators to keep the power on during the cuts.

This dire situation inspired award-winning Palestinian entrepreneur Majd Mashharawi, 25, to find a unique solution to the energy crisis faced by her fellow Gazans. The young woman had already earned fame across the globe after designing GreenCake, a brick made from ash and rubble that’s nearly as durable as cement and provides a crucial construction option for builders in the besieged region.

Her solution was to design SunBox, an affordable generator that utilizes solar power to provide clean electricity despite the Israeli blockade. With a price of only $350, the solar kit is capable of providing 1,000 kilowatts of electricity to families through panels they can install on their roofs.

While far from a comprehensive fix to Gaza’s electrical problems—which range from a lack of power for desalination plants to an absence of fully-fledged electrical plants—the project can provide a fix to the household needs of families who need power for their lamps, mobile phones, televisions, internet connections, and even their refrigerators.

Majd told the Guardian:

“I spent all my [time at] college sitting by a candle.

Hospitals are prioritized, they have eight to 10 hours’ electricity—people have three to five hours.”

Continuing, she noted how her own life has been plagued by power cuts ever since the Israelis bombed the strip’s only electrical plant in 2006, when she was 12. Majd explained:

“It became part of my life. It’s annoying … but you don’t know about it until you see it in real life.

When I was in Gaza, I used to accept it, but when I went to Japan, and I saw how many lights they have in the streets, how easy life is … you just go to the bathroom, you have [a] hot shower, it’s so easy.”

When Majd finally began installing SunBox units across the strip, she immediately saw how it transformed the lives of Gazans. She told the Independent:

“One of the first units I installed was in a refugee camp. The next day I went back to the camp and saw the whole neighborhood watching football using our device.”

As of the first quarter of 2019, over 1,000 people are now using the sustainable energy device.

For one Gazan resident named Samar whose son requires a respirator to treat his life-threatening lung disease, the SunBox has been nothing short of miraculous. Samar explained:

“SunBox is more than a solar device that provides lights for my kids to study and run the TV for them, it really changed my life by providing electricity to run the medical device for my sick child.

Now I do not have to worry every day whether I can go to the hospital or not, I do not have to run anymore to be on time so I can provide him with oxygen before something happens.” 

Another customer, Muna, has been able to work from home as a tailor without worrying about abrupt electricity cuts—or having to stay up all night so she could work whenever the electricity came back on, as was the case prior to receiving the SunBox. She said:

“I don’t have to worry when I will wake up and when I can sleep. I never imagined I would control my source of energy, I feel independent.”

Majd hopes that her inventions can help blaze a trail for women in Gaza. During her time at Gaza’s Islamic University, she struggled with a 6-1 male to female ratio in her engineering class.

“I know very well that the world around us is advancing, while our lives in Gaza are frozen,” she told the New Arab. “But instead of wasting time complaining about how bad our situation is, I prefer to seek solutions for problems.”

Majd now hopes that her startup can help not only to empower local women—whom she focuses on recruiting once they graduate from university—but also power the dreams of an impoverished and frustrated generation of Gazans. She said:

“I want to show that we are not just victims in Gaza. I am a statistic that cannot be ignored.”

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Good News

Keanu Reeves Praised As Video of Him Offering Seat to Lady in Subway Resurfaces

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Keanu Reeves is an actor who has long been loved by audiences —and not necessarily due to his acting skills, but due to how nice the John Wick star is.

And now, Reeves is once again earning praise as a “true gentleman” after resurfaced video footage shows Reeves giving up his seat on the subway.

The clip was shared by Instagram film fan account Cinemonkeys where it has since earned nearly 45,000 likes.

The video footage dates back to 2011, when it was shared on YouTube by a user of the video-sharing platform.

At the time, Reeves was already a superstar riding on the fame he earned from the Matrix, Speed, and a number of other blockbuster hits.

When Reeves notices a woman carrying a heavy bag, he quickly points to his seat and asks if she would like to sit. The woman accepts and Reeves gets up without hesitating to let her take his seat.

Reeves, ever the model citizen, then stands and holds onto a subway pole while carrying his bag.

The video has since been watched over 27 million times and was even cited in a 2019 Time magazine profile of the actor describing Reeves as the “soul mate” of the internet.

The resurfacing of the clip on Instagram once again impressed users of the platform.

“This human being’s soul honestly shines so bright,” wrote one user.

“OMG I love him in every single way,” another person commented.

His kindness knows no bounds,” commented someone else.

Keanu is set to reprise his role as Neo in the upcoming fourth Matrix film directed and written by Lana Wachowski, who co-directed the earlier trilogy with her sister Lilly. He will also return to the silver screen in John Wick: Chapter 4, which will be released in 2022.

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Animals

Drunk Man Rescues Injured Baby Bird By Sending It To Animal Shelter… In An Uber

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An injured baby bird received a new lease on life after a young man who was inebriated had the good sense to send the little creature to an animal shelter because he and his friends were too drunk to drive.

In the Summer of 2019, a small lesser goldfinch suddenly appeared by itself at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. The center’s chairman, Buz Marthaler, was notified by a volunteer who sent him a photo.

“It was a picture of this bird, and it had come by Uber,” Marthaler told FOX13. “It was just crazy.”

As it turns out, the tiny bird – which was only two weeks old – indeed rolled up to the site by its lonesome, the sole passenger in an Uber vehicle called by concerned citizens who found the injured creature.

Among those good Samaritans was Tim Crowley, who had been “day drinking” on that Saturday before he and his buddies witnessed the little bird fall from the sky.

“Impromptu, sitting in some camp chairs, hanging out, having a few drinks when we had a visitor fall out of the sky,” he explained.

Crowley then snapped a photo of the bird and sent it to the WRCNU, which instructed him to immediately bring the bird in. However, the group obviously couldn’t drive since they had been guzzling booze all day.

So Crowley decided he’d hail a cab for the creature.

“At first it was a joke, like, ‘Hey, maybe we should just call Uber!’” he said. “Then we were like, ‘No, really. Why not? We’re paying them.’”

As it turns out, the bird – since named “Petey Uber” by staff at the rescue center – likely would have perished if not for Crowley’s quick thinking.

Marthaler remains impressed by Crowley’s move and shared the news on its Facebook page.

“While we feel we’ve seen it all and can’t be amazed by anything, there is always someone out there to prove us wrong,” the shelter’s post read. “Thank you to the rescuer who helped this little one get the care it needed in a timely manner and thank you for keeping yourself safe and others on the road safe as well.”

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Animals

Binx the Cat, Who Survived Florida Condo Collapse, Found and Reunited With Family

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Amid the tragedy of last month’s collapse of a South Florida condo building, there was a tiny bit of good news when a cat named Binx, who lived on the ninth floor of the Surfside building, was found safe and returned to his family.

“I’m glad that this small miracle could bring some light into the lives of a hurting family today and provide a bright spot for our whole community in the midst of this terrible tragedy,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava in a Friday press conference, reports NPR.

Levine Cava explained that a volunteer who feeds street cats in the area recognized the cat near the building before bringing him to an animal shelter, where it was then identified.

Gina Nicole Vlasek, the co-founder of the The Kitty Campus rescue group, posted on Facebook that a black cat had been found near the rubble of the group before it was brought to the shelter on Thursday night.

“We are so grateful to be able to help in any small way,” Vlasek said.

“All we needed was a ray of hope in this tragedy,” she continued. “Today was one of the most amazing days.. one of the survivors came to see the cat and to determine if it was her families cat and IT WAS!”

The mayor said that animal control workers are continuing to work to recover any pets that may have survived the horrible collapse.

The 12-story Surfside condo collapsed on June 24. At least 79 people have been confirmed dead, with 61 additional residents remaining unaccounted for.

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