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Feel-good stories of humanity

Give yourself a lift with these heart-warming tales from around the globe.

Every day, people around the world are helping each other. It’s an instinct that shines through humanity time and time again. If you need a little reminder about the good in the world, check out these feel-good stories. You can also submit your own.

Love of art brings together unlikely new friends

Photo: ABC News/Shelley Lloyd

Over cups of tea, chocolate biscuits and a love of art, a friendship between 101-year-old Peggy Muller and 15-year-old Hasinah Zainal has blossomed. The two met through a project from not-for-profit organisation Embraced, which looks to make inter-generational connections, helping to address the loneliness and social isolation that many older Australians experience. Peggy and Hasinah found they have a lot in common, both having moved to Australia when they were young. Peggy and her family came from the UK after WW1, and Hasinah and her family are refugees from Iran. “She's an amazing girl,” says Peggy. “It's been lovely meeting with her…we talk, we play games…I think she's a very inspiring young girl.” The feeling is mutual from Hasinah. “I feel very lucky to be hanging out with Peggy,” she said. See more »

A different kind of prescription: art and culture

Photo: The Guardian/Kristian Fæste

A new program in Denmark is helping people with mental illness through exposure to art, culture and music. The Kulturvitaminer program facilitates cultural participation for those who are unemployed or on sick leave for conditions such as stress, anxiety and depression. Jonas Thrysøe, who has agoraphobia and struggles to leave his house, said he didn’t think he’d participate at all in his first session, a group sing-a-long. “I swore I’d just stand at the back and listen,” he said. “But the mood was infectious.” By the second verse he was singing along with the group. Whilst the idea of culture being used to help with mental illness isn’t new, formal and government supported programs like the Kulturvitaminer programme are. Still in trial phase, participants are hoping the program will be rolled out further. Jonas is a firm believer: “The course altered my outlook – I’ve redefined what success looks like. I went from being very isolated to being ready for the job market and happier, too. It changed my life.” See more »

Paralympic runner Jaryd Clifford is going for gold

Photo: ABC News/Ben Lisson

Jaryd Clifford can run the 1,500m in under four minutes. That’s a world record, and a time that puts him in the top 10 of able-bodied runners in Australia. Jaryd was diagnosed with juvenile macular degeneration at the age of three, which impacts his central vision. The legally blind runner has loved sports since he was a kid, and his dedication saw him achieve a dream and compete for Australia at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. With that experience under his belt, he’s now going for gold in Tokyo. “Overcoming adversity makes you stronger. I'm stronger for that period in my life,” Jaryd says of the times in his life when he doubted he could make it. “It's quite special to know that those low moments don't last forever, and hopefully the highest moments are just around the corner.” See more »

Feeling good? Pass it on

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Farmers come to their neighbour’s aid

Photo: CNN

Washington farmer Larry Yockey has been farming for 50 years, on the same land once farmed by his father and grandfather. Crop farming makes up his entire income, a job that he does on his own to support his family. This year Larry was diagnosed with melanoma – and feared that he wouldn’t be able to handle the harvest. He didn’t need to worry. Once Larry’s farming neighbours heard about his condition they rallied to help, and last weekend dozens arrived to complete the harvest in just eight hours, a job that normally takes three weeks. Other members of the community, as well as the local fire department, also showed up with food and drinks. Larry was overwhelmed: “’Thank you’ really doesn't even do justice here,” he said. See more »

Police let people pay off parking fines with cat food

Photo: CNN

The Muncie Animal Care and Services Shelter, in Indiana, USA, is home to over 350 cats and kittens, and relies on donations to keep running. The local police department has come up with a unique way to help them out – letting people pay off parking fines with donations of food and litter to the shelter. The response was overwhelming, with the shelter soon flooded with donations, including some from people who didn’t even have a fine to pay off. Shelter office manager Ashley Honeycutt said that the donations would make a world of difference. “I don't know if the police department plans on doing this again, but we're incredibly grateful to them and the community. Their response was overwhelming.” See more »

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