Melinda Janki from Guyana on oil, money and nature

Episode #5

Melinda is a lawyer and environmental activist in Guyana, South America. The poor country wants to get very very rich – with oil. One of the largest oil discoveries in recent years was made off the coast of Guyana. Melinda says, we are rich already. We are a carbon sink, look at all the nature. So she is fighting with her government, with the World Bank and with one of the biggest oil companies in the world.

Melinda’s Utopia: the oil shall not be taken out. She sued her government.

We talk about money, frogs and what to do when everything seems to be going to the gutter.

Melinda’s movement: https://fairdealforguyana.org/about/

Udo from Berlin on basic income and homelessness

Episode #4

Udo is a social worker in the streets of Berlin, the capital of one of the richest countries in the world. Nevertheless there are about 10.000 homeless people living on card boards or abandoned mattresses. To reduce poverty the city of Berlin invented a solidarity basic income and Udo’s organization Karuna a give-away of about 1500 Euros in cash a day.

We talk about money, solidarity, pain and paperwork.

Udo’s Utopia: Unconditional basic income for everyone and a society where people take care of each other. Where everybody can feel safe and home.

Udo’s organisation: https://cms.karuna-ev.de/

Majd Mashharawi from Gaza on business and politics

Episode #3

Majd is an engineer and founder of two companies in Gaza. A place that is often referred to as the biggest open air prison in the world. But instead of surrendering to her fate, Majd decided to create something under occupation, siege and patriarchy. In headscarf and high heels.

Her company Greencake is turning rubble and ashes into bricks and houses. Her company Sunbox is turning sunlight into electricity, and salt water into drinking water.

We talk about weddings, being betrayed, the sound of a rocket and social entrepreneurship.

Majd’s Utopia is flying over Gaza and seeing solar panels all over the roof tops.

Majd’s company: https://www.facebook.com/SunBoxPs/

Grace Kabera from Congo on fear and democracy

Episode #2

Grace is a member of the LUCHA movement in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She is fighting for change. With change she means the end of corruption and violence. And instead creating a real democracy with social justice, clean water, paved roads and free education. With fighting she means non violent fighting: demonstrations, leaflets, social media campaigns.

For their work LUCHA (Lutte pour le Changement) was honored with different international peace and human rights awards. Nevertheless some members of LUCHA had to spend months in prison, some are even dead. Also Grace spent some time in prison. She has a baby girl now. “But the hope is bigger than the fear”, she says.

Just a few days after our first conversation on democracy, useless NGOs and trauma LUCHA member Freddy Kambale was shot at a demonstration. Two police men were arrested. “We are trying our best to honor his memory and to call for justice for him”, Grace says.

Grace’s Utopia is a Congo nouveau. A Congo with real democracy and psychotherapy.

Grace’s movement: http://www.luchacongo.org/

Maria Toorpakai from Pakistan on Taliban and freedom

Episode #1

Maria grew up in Taliban headquarter. That’s how she calls the tribal area of Waziristan where she was raised. Today she is a squash player in the international arena and has a foundation to encourage Pakistani girls to also be brave.

The Taliban threatened to kill her and her family. So she put herself under a voluntary quarantine for three years. She just hardly ever left the house. The first time she sensed that something was wrong with the way girls were treated in Waziristan was when she was four years old. That’s why she burned all her dresses and cut off her hair.

We talk about freedom, extremism and education. About Islam and Islamism. Maria is telling the story of her childhood and what made her burn her dresses as a kid. Also how she made it through such a long time in quarantine and what she thinks about the majority of schools today: nothing.

Maria’s Utopia is a world where everybody is free. Also from the inside. No prejudices, no extremism.

Maria Toorpakai’s Foundation: https://www.mariatoorpakai.org/

Radio Utopistan

Episode #0

Radio Utopistan is a podcast and community. We believe in constructive storytelling and a more just future. Therefore we are interconnecting bold ideas and visionary people from around the world.
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Radio Utopistan is a think-and-do-tank. A toolbox for political hope and civic engagement.
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We are still in the beginning. Our aim is to establish a digital media brand and a social enterprise that will solely focus on catalyzing Utopias. Small ones within families or neighborhoods and big ones within our global society. Via our podcast, via dinner tables, workshops and conferences.
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We believe political hope and bold ideas are needed more than ever; in face of climate crisis and social disruptions after the pandemic. Nevertheless, of course, we will be critical with all utopias we promote. Because the utopia of one person can be somebody else’s dystopia. That is why we commit ourselves to the Global Charter of Ethics for Journalists.
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Radio Utopistan is about people who fight for their Utopias. For progressive spaces within the system or outside the system. For electricity in war torn neighborhoods for example. Or for trees. Or for good food. For solidarity where there seems only oppression. It’s not about blueprints of how to organize societies, but about guide posts, roadmaps and inspirational people along the journey.

Utopian ideas drive us as humans, they drive humankind and humanity. And Radio Utopistan wants to find out what drives those visionary people. It was the belief that we could fly, conquer disease or live in permanent peace that gave women and men the courage to take risks, to step out, to try things and also to fail.

Many things that we take for granted today, were mere utopias in their day– and the people who fought for them were ridiculed, shamed, harassed and also killed. 200 years ago the end of slavery was still utopia. The fall of the Berlin Wall just 50 years ago. And then the end of Apartheid 30 years ago. Where does that leave us today? What are the utopias of our time? What about gender equality? Basic income? Nature rights? Peace in the Middle East?

Elisabeth Weydt meets people who are striving towards and fighting for their Utopias, people who want to change the system or build some space outside the system. Elisabeth is an award-winning multimedia journalist based somewhere between Hamburg and Haifa. She mostly covers topics which revolve around radicalism and resources. She loves cooking and will meet her guests preferably at home, in bars or in the jungle.
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Annuschka Eckhardt is the supervising producer of Radio Utopistan. She studied international emergency aid and worked among others in Mexico, Colombia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. She is part of a collective that organizes cultural events to support refugees at EU boarders.
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The rest of the team you will get to know while listening and engaging along the way.

Let’s go treasure hunting together.
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You can support Radio Utopistan
*by spreading the episodes
*by becoming a regular contributor: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=37500274
*by becoming a member of or giving a donation to our association (soon to come)