Stories For A Smile

Stories For A Smile: February 2017

february 2017

Hey fellow wanderers!

How are you all doing? I hope that your 2017 has gotten off to a great start ūüôā

Mine certainly has. I’ve been hard at work on contributing to others’ blogs and growing my audience and views a bit. I’ve also been spending a lot of my time in preparation for my first travel blogging conference!

I’m very excited for this one. It’ll be happening in March and I¬†want to make¬†sure that I’m fully prepared for¬†it, so I’m working hard to make sure I’ll be as prepared as possible.

So far, my 2017 is shaping up and I’m very excited for what’s yet to come. I hope that you’re excited for your 2017 too!

It is no secret that 2016 was a very difficult year for us as a whole.

But I hope to show with this post that we can make 2017 a great year for us and that there are plenty of people who are already making 2017 a great year for others.

It always restores my hope and faith in the world and humanity when I come across stories like these.

So without further adieu, here is the February 2017 edition of Stories For A Smile!


1) Blood Test Can Detect Cancer 10 Years Before Symptoms Show

Sometimes we don’t hear of it but progress¬†in the scientific and medical fields is occurring all the time. This story is a very heartening¬†example of that. Cancer has unfortunately been a big problem with no easy solution for a long time. It is reported that in the U.S. alone, over 20 million people have at some point been diagnosed with cancer. With not many prevention methods and unguaranteed solutions, it’s understandable why it has become a very dreaded word to hear. ¬†But this simple blood test can detect cancer 10 years before symptoms show. It is stated¬†that the blood test acts like a smoke detector but for cancer. Just as a smoke detector detects smoke, the sign that there is a fire; this blood test can detect mutated blood cells, the sign that there is cancer. This test is currently still undergoing trials but it is expected to be available to the public in 5 years for only $46. Since the earlier you catch cancer, the easier it is to treat it, this test could potentially save thousands of lives. The research is being done all over the world by many different scientists. You can’t help but¬†appreciate and be grateful for scientists and medical researchers for all the work they do to save lives.

Relevant Links:


2) Thousands Of Bangladeshis Get Clean Water With New Cheap Filter

Clean drinking water is a necessity for every person in the world in order to be healthy. Yet, in many parts of the world, it is a¬†privilege that they’re not lucky enough to have. Water filters can unfortunately be very expensive for people living in underprivileged areas, but finally there’s a cheaper alternative. A non-profit organisation called O’Horizons has invented a cheap water filter called the BioSand Filter. Not only can it be built at a tenth of the cost of a regular water filter, but it’s sustainable and easy to assemble,¬†with a¬†comprehensive construction manual that’s available for free online. Over 500o people in Bangladesh have already benefited from this invention, as well as many people in Kenya, Ecuador and Mali. O’Horizon’s goal is for 1,000,000 Bangladeshis to have access to clean water by 2022. Having clean water to drink and bathe in is essential to being healthy and disease-free, so it’s awesome that so many people who didn’t have access to clean water, will now have it.

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3) Thousands Of Zimbabweans¬†Get Help For Mental Illness With “Friendship Benches”

Mental Illness¬†is a¬†serious issue that needs and deserves to be treated professionally. Resources and treatments for the mentally ill¬†are often limited even in developed countries, so you can imagine how few resources exist in¬†underdeveloped countries. However, Zimbabwe has found a solution. Co-founded by Dr. Dixon Chibanda, one of Zimbabwe’s 12 psychiatrists, ‘Friendship Benches’ is an intervention that helps locals alleviate symptoms and find relief from their mental disorders. People who suffer from mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, come to the bench where they can receive guidance and a listening ear. At these benches they talk to ‘Grandmothers’, women who have been trained to offer their support and guidance with the troubles that their patients are dealing. What’s¬†amazing is that the ‘Friendship Benches‘ are super effective! Six months after receiving six weekly therapy sessions with the Grandmothers, patients were reported to have significantly reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety. In fact, only 13% of patients were reported to still have symptoms of depression and anxiety after receiving care from the ‘Grandmothers’. It’s awesome that Zimbabwe has found a way to treat it’s mental health sufferers with the resources they have.

Relevant Links:


4) “Bag Ladies” Turn Plastic Bags Into Sleeping Mats For The Homeless

It’s always incredible when you hear of solutions being implemented for one of the world’s most pressing issues. But when you know that this same solution is actually being used for 2 different problems, you can’t help but admire their ability to creatively problem solve. ¬†A group of women from Tennessee have found a way to help the homeless and help the environment. They collect plastic bags, meet up every Thursday at the local church and create mats for the homeless to sleep on. Creating the mats takes about 600-700 mats and a lot of cutting and crocheting, but it’s worth it. Janice Akin, one of the Bag Ladies, talks about how difficult the work actually is, especially as many of the ladies including herself have arthritis. But she also says that the feeling of fulfilment is addictive and it’s not hard to understand why! These ladies are not only helping their neighbours who don’t have homes and live on the streets, but they’re also helping the environment while they’re at it! Knowing that you are working as community to actively address the problems that exist, must be a wonderful feeling. They’re truly an inspiration.

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5) Father Of Bride Celebrates Daughter’s Wedding By Building 90 Houses For The Poor

When people think of weddings, they think of a lavish ceremony followed by¬†an extravagant party¬†in a decked out venue. Flowers, catering, music, gowns, the whole works. But rather than throwing a swanky and expensive event, the business tycoon Ajay Munot decided to use the¬†$11,000,000 that he had set aside for his daughter’s wedding, for something else. To buy 2 acres of land & build homes for the homeless. 90 homes to be exact. Each of the 90 homes have electricity and running filtered water, as well as¬†having been painted. And the only requirements to receiving a home was that you were poor, were living in a slum and had no addictions. When asked about why he decided to put the money towards building homes for others instead of a lavish wedding party for his daughter, Ajay replied, “[as a rich family] we have some responsibilities towards our society and we tried to comply with it. This is the new chapter in history and I hope that the same concept will be followed by other rich communities”. When Sheyra, Ajay’s wedded daughter, was asked about her father’s decision, she said, “I am very happen with the decision and will consider it my wedding gift.” It’s nice to know that there are families who will happily put their money to good use.

Relevant Links:


And there you have it! My February 2017 edition of Stories For A Smile ūüôā

When we’re going backwards in the world instead of forwards and we hear stories of hatred and bigotry, it’s good to remind ourselves that there are still people in this world who are¬†making progress and showing compassion and generosity to others. ¬† ¬†

We can certainly find reassurance and inspiration from these stories.

And as the world seems to be getting crazier and crazier, we can have faith that if we show kindness to others, chances are high that others will show kindness to others too. It’s infectious and like throwing a stone in water, it can cause many positive ripples that you may not even know of.

Kindness is a currency that you don’t buy with, but that you should still¬†spend generously.

At least, that’s how I view kindness ūüôā

What are some stories that have made you smile this month? Please share with us in the comments below!

Be Brave & Be Kind,

Ella x

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  • Reply Kate - Travel for Difference February 10, 2017 at 23:22

    The story that made me smile the most is the rescue of 67 young women from human trafficking in India. It’s such a devastating reality that breaks my heart, but to see organisations succeed in their rescue is so beautiful to see.
    This is such a great post Ella, amazing to see some more joy in the world X

    • Reply Ella February 11, 2017 at 16:51

      Human trafficking is so awful, horrible and as you said, completely heartbreaking. I’m glad to know that there are organizations who are committed and successful in rescuing them and the fact that 67 people were rescued, is something to be grateful for. That’s 67 people whose lives were saved. This truly is an amazing story ūüôā Thanks for sharing this with us!

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