Over the last four years, the Indian government has made it their goal to provide sanitation for the entire nation. In those four years, thousands of lives have been saved.
Over the course of these four years, the Indian government improved public access to toilets and hygiene facilities. With this improvement, these facilities have increased India’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan sanitation coverage from 40% to 90% and is set to achieve total coverage by October 2019.
This initiative has already prevented 300,000 children dying from diarrhea and protein- energy malnutrition.
Before Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the initiative back in October 2014, unsafe sanitation caused an estimate of 200 million cases of dangerous gastrointestinal problems each year.
As the numbers dissipated, the government has been celebrating their significant victory over the public health crisis.
“The credit for saving these lives goes to every Indian who was a part of this campaign,” Prime Minister said in a translated statement. “Saving the lives of the poor children is surely a great humanitarian act and the world bodies are recognizing it.”
“A clean India would be the best tribute India could pay to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birthday in 2019.”
A little boy’s heart became glad after he mailed a birthday card to his dad in heaven; astonished to have gotten a response.
7-year-old Jade Hyndman from West Lothian, Scotland mailed this card as a way to say happy birthday to his father who died four years ago.
Instead of writing an address on the front envelope, Jase simply wrote:
“Mr. Postman, can you take this to heaven for my dad’s birthday. Thanks.”
Assistant delivery office manager Sean Milligan from the UK’s Royal Mail Service could have ignored the response or disposed of the request, but decided to write a kind response, assuring the boy the card was in great care.
“Dear Jase,” read the letter. “While we’ve been delivering your post, we’ve become aware of some concerns.
“So I just wanted to take this opportunity to contact you about how we succeeded in the delivery of your letter, to your dad in heaven. This was a difficult challenge avoiding stars and other galactic objects on route to heaven.”
Concluding with: “I will continue to do all I can to ensure delivery to heaven safely.”
Jase and his mother, Teri Copland, were overjoyed by the compassionate gesture.
“I actually cannot state how emotional he is knowing his dad got his card,” Copland wrote in her Facebook post. “You didn’t have to make the effort to do this, you could have just ignored it, but the fact that you made the effort for a little boy you’ve never met is such a lovely thing to do for Royal Mail.”
“It honestly means the world to him,” the post continued. “Please share this so all the staff at Royal Mail know just how grateful we are.”
Over the course of two days, this post has been shared over 220,000 times. People around the world are also praising Royal Mail’s careful “delivery” of the letter to heaven.
Copland concluded her praise to Royal mail writing, “Royal Mail, you’ve just restored my faith in humanity and thank you… Merry Christmas.”
Sometimes strangers can become friends.
Last week, 28-year-old Eric Haralson went to McDonald’s in Noblesville, Indiana with the sole intention of eating breakfast alone. Little did he know that as soon as he sat down — he would obtain company.
A 70-year-old woman named Jan approached Haralson in the restaurant and asked to join him for breakfast.
Haralson responded with an enthusiastic yes.
“My reply was ‘of course’ because that’s just who I am,” Haralson told Today Food. “So she grabbed her food, I pushed her chair out for her and introduced myself.”
After she sat down, both of them spent the next 45 minutes engaging in conversations about life and appreciating each other’s company.
Haralson spoke of his girlfriend and son and Jan spoke of going to church each Sunday and of her artist days.
After breakfast and conversations, Haralson walked her to her car and exchanged phone numbers with the desire to have breakfast again.
Later, Haralson saw a picture of him and Jan on Facebook. A school teacher named Amanda Marquell Craft snapped a photo of their exchange and published it to social media — praising Haralson for his compassion. The photo has been shared thousands of times.
“Shout out to this guy! This elderly lady (seemed to be a little lonely) came up to him and asked if she could sit with him,” Craft wrote.
“My friends and I watched him introduce himself and shake her hand. They talked and laughed together like they were friends. They didn’t know each other and they couldn’t be more different. But today they shared a meal together and it touched our hearts.”
David Leigh, a friend of Jan’s, commented on Haralson’s FB page also expressing his adoration for Haralson’s kindness.
“I know you made Jan’s day that morning of meeting her and allowing her to sit at your table,” Leigh wrote. “I don’t know if you are religious, but she may have been your guardian angel making a visit with you to see if you loved your fellow man… that was a blessed thing you did and keep doing them. God loves you. You truly are a gentleman. My best to you and your future.”
Haralson was glad to have shared a meal with her and was happy to have inspired many people, but he is most glad to have a new friend.
Jan “just wanted some conversation,” according to Haralson, but now her request has sparked interest in many people to lend a helping hand, be kind people, and share their own stories of sitting down with strangers.
He even expressed his admiration for her and exchanged her words of wisdom with Today Food. “She is a wonderful woman,” Haralson said. “She mentioned many times how we all should love one another. And how we should not judge anyone because you never know how their day is going and what they’ve been through.”
Since last Thursday, Haralson had left Jan a voicemail asking to have breakfast with her again and expressing their newfound fame. He still has yet to reconnect with her.
“I’ll keep trying,” he said. “I know if we had forever, she would have a story for me for everyday.”
Emmy Award- winning filmmaker Deeyah Khan was scared for her life when she met with Neo-Nazis for the first time.
Her fear perpetuated her. As Khan filmed members of the group, some of them followed her around, threatening to kill her if she made one wrong move.
“In my mind, I was just thinking if anything happens right now, which it probably will, they could just bury me right here and nobody would ever know,” Khan said.
Despite her fear and distrust and dislike from the neo-Nazis, she wanted to know why men could hate so much.
“I decided to pick up my camera and go and see if I could sit down with people who feel this intense dislike, or even hatred, towards people like me,” Khan told Peace News.
The question of why men could hate so much, inspired her to release her film “White Right: meeting the Enemy.”
“For me it’s about primarily getting in touch with our common humanity,” Khan told Peace News. “To see if it’s possible for us to break down the prejudices that exist between groups.”
Her first interview was with Ken Parker, a member of the National Socialist Movement, the biggest white supremacist organization in America.
Parker’s bare torso was adorned with a swastika tattoo on the right of his chest and a Klan tattoo on the left.
Khan asked him, “Does it matter to you that I think what you are doing is wrong?”
Parker answered with a “no” and became increasingly frustrated and nervous as the questions rolled on. He admitted he was “not responsible for other people’s feelings.”
Khan went on to describe the experience. First describing it as awkward without the anticipated context of angry mobs shouting — but then conveyed a dynamic shift. She continued to be a listening ear.
Overtime, Khan interviewed other white supermarkets and neo-nazis, trying to figure out their motivations.
She figured out that most of the hate stemmed from the stories of their past rooted in abandonment, not fitting in, hopelessness, shame and humiliation, and longing to belong.
“They’re rejected for various reasons in other aspects of their lives,” she explained. “So whether it is feeling rejected by women, or by the job market, by society at large, or feeling as if you don’t measure up, not feeling good enough, shame, feeling humiliated, feeling emasculated.”
Khan added on stating that while there are hate groups — a lot of their actions are driven by love — a love for fellow members of the group who have given them a sense of family and a sense of purpose.
After Khan interviewed Parker and others like him, she felt a sense of liberation.
“It reminded me that they are just people, they are just human beings,” she said. “I have spent my entire life being stereotyped, I am not going to turn around and do that to somebody else.”
The Norwegian born filmmaker, who now resides in the UK recently earned an International Emmy award for her film and was previously nominated for BAFTA awards. Her film was released to Netflix in June and is streaming in America and the UK.
Parker eventually became touched by Khan’s actions. So touched, he removed all his hateful tattoos and renounced his membership in these organizations.
“He turned his back on the entire community,” Khan said. “He left them behind based on a principle he no longer wants to subscribe to.”
Overall, in reflecting on her documentary, Khan realized her project’s main aspect.
“We all have the capacity to effect change,” she said. “Just being human beings with each other, threatening each other with respect and dignity. You know how we feel when someone smiles at us or says something nice, it makes us feel great. The same if someone gives us a dirty look, it shifts how we feel.”
Stefano Boeri, an Italian architect, recently announced his plans to help decrease pollution in Nanjing, a city in eastern China. Boeri is famous for the Bosco Verticale, or Vertical Forest, a skyscraper layered with trees. He plans to build two similar structures in Nanjing: towers which will be home to 23 different species of trees and more than 2,500 cascading shrubs. The two buildings will house offices, a luxury hotel, a museum, and a green architecture school. They are already under construction and are scheduled to be completed next year.
China is a country known for its high levels of pollution, especially in its cities. While Boeri is delighted that his towers will help the people of Nanjing, he has an even bigger goal to help tackle the pollution problem. He wants to create “forest cities” to help clear the air in China.
“We have been asked to design an entire city where you don’t only have one tall building but you have 100 or 200 buildings of different sizes, all with trees and plants on the facades,” Boeri said. “We are working very seriously on designing all the different buildings. By 2020 we could imagine having the first forest city in China.”
Boeri’s buildings are projected to absorb 25 tons of carbon dioxide from Nanjing’s air every year and produce 60 kg of oxygen each day.
Boeri’s first “forest city” will be in Luizhou, a city of 1.5 million people in the southern province of Guangxi. He plans to build a second city around Shijiazhuang, a large industrial metropolis that consistently finds itself on China’s lists of most polluted cities. Boeri hopes to create many of these sustainable mini-cities which will help provide a greener future for the country.
Boeri says that this idea is simple but not spectacular. “What is spectacular is the nature, the idea of having a building that changes color with each season. The plants and trees are growing and they are completely changing.”
Boeri believes his project will lay the groundwork for similar developments elsewhere: “We think—and we hope—that this idea of vertical forests can be replicated everywhere. I hope that what we have done can be useful for other kinds of experiments.”