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5 moments that gave us hope in 2020

5 moments that gave us hope in 2020
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When we look back on the year 2020, most of us will recall a time of devastating loss and uncertainty. But amidst the pain and suffering of a global pandemic, there were still many impactful moments over the past 12 months that brought us joy and gave us hope for the future. Here are five of our favorites.

Real Life Hero

World Vision

Akhi, 17, was working as a child laborer in dangerous conditions in Bangladesh. After being removed from the situation with help from World Vision, she enrolled in one of their training programs that provided her with a sewing machine and taught her sewing skills. Wanting to find a way to give back during the COVID-19 outbreak, Akhi began sewing beautiful, colorful masks and selling them at affordable prices to poorer households in her community. Her work was even recognized by the U.N., who gave her a Real Life Hero award.

The Greatest Gift

World Vision

When the pandemic hit, schools were forced to close and students transitioned into remote learning. But for many without access to the right technology, the closure meant an interruption to their education. This was the case for Simon, a refugee from South Sudan who lives in the BidiBidi Refugee Camp in Uganda. To prevent his son from missing out, Simon's dad used what little money he had to buy a radio so Simon could tune into his lessons which had been transferred to the airwaves. "My Dad is my hero because he bought for me a radio in which I can study," Simon said.

Solidarity

World Vision

COVID-19 led to a desperate need for healthcare workers and medical equipment. In July, the Solidarity, World Vision's floating hospital, set sail for the Amazon. The team of doctors, nurses, and dentists on board were able to provide the remote communities in this region with necessary medical care, food packages, and information to help prevent the spread of the virus.

A Place to Call Home

Peter Mutabazi

Peter Mutabazi, 37, grew up in poverty in a village near the border of Uganda and Rwanda. He eventually migrated to America and got a job at World Vision, but decided he wanted to do more to help those in need, so he signed up to be a foster dad. Over the past three years, he's cared for 12 children, but one child in particular made an impact on his life. Anthony, 13, had been abandoned by his family at the age of two then again by a family who had taken him in. Peter and Anthony really hit it off when the two met and Peter decided to adopt the boy, which finally went through in March after two years. "Anthony is an amazing kid," Peter told Metro News.

Girl Power

World Vision

During lockdown, many people faced unprecedented financial pressure. For some parents, forcing their children into child marriages seemed like the only way to keep them fed and sheltered, according to World Vision India's Sandip Bhowmick.

World Vision's Girl Power groups in India aim to equip girls with necessary life skills, including personal safety, self-defense training, education, and legal awareness to avoid the threat of gender-based violence, trafficking, and child marriage. The girls then use what they learn to raise awareness and equip others with the same crucial knowledge. These skills were especially useful to help end the flux of child marriages happening at the height of the pandemic.

"In just one apartment block, our Girl Power group alerted us to nine imminent child marriages. The youngest case of child marriage was that of a fourteen-year-old girl. However, thanks to Girl Power, we were able to stop these marriages and work with the families to find a better solution to their difficulties," Bhowmick said.

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Bryanne was approached by a man in a parking lot asking for a dollar to catch the bus. The entire time, the mom scrounged around in her purse looking for spare change and revealed she felt bad because she thought she had some. Bryanne's desire to help was a simple act of kindness to another human in need without the expectation of something in return.

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Native Siberian shares what daily life entails in the coldest village on Earth

See how the people of Yakutia, Siberia take showers, do laundry, go to school and more in minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit.

A man in the Yakutia region of Siberia takes an ice bath in minus 50 degrees Celsius.

For most of us, waking up to a temperature of minus 50 degrees would spell catastrophe. Normal life would come to a screeching halt, we'd be scrambling to deal with frozen pipes and power outages, school and work would be canceled and weather warnings would tell us not to venture outside due to frostbite risk.

But in the Yakutia region of Siberia, that's just an average winter day where life goes on as usual.

When you live in the coldest inhabited area on Earth, your entire life is arranged around dealing with ridiculously cold temperatures. Villages don't have running water because freezing pipes wouldn't allow for water treatment. Kids go to school unless the temp drops below minus 55 degrees Celsius (which is then considered dangerous). Showering involves spending hours stoking a fire in the bathhouse to create a steamy, warm room.

Native Siberian Kiun B. has created a series of documentary short films detailing what daily life is like in Yakutia's frigid winters. She was born and raised in Yakutsk, Siberia, widely recognized as the coldest city on Earth, where average winter temperatures hover around minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit. As seen in her videos, smaller villages in the Yakutia region regularly dip down into the negative 50s, with the lowest recorded temp in the Yakut village of Oymayakon reaching a mindblowing minus 96 degrees Fahrenheit.

The popularity of Kiun's YouTube channel demonstrates how curious people are about life in such harsh conditions, as her videos have been viewed by tens of millions of people in the past year alone.

Check out this video detailing a day in the life of a family in a Yakutia village.

Can you imagine going out to use an outhouse in minus 40 degrees? Oof.

Another of Kiun's videos goes into more detail about how people shower and do laundry in the region. You might assume they wouldn't line-dry their laundry outdoors, but they do.

Watch:

What do people wear to protect themselves from the negative temperatures? Frostbite is a real risk, so it's important to have the right kinds of clothing and outdoor gear to stay safe and relatively comfortable.

Kiun shared some frigid fashion norms from Yakutsk, which include traditional fur hats and boots as well as lots of layers and down jackets.

However, there are some Yakut folks who see the cold as something to embrace. For instance, this man takes an ice bath out in the elements as a morning ritual. It's something he has worked up to—definitely not something to try on your own during a cold snap—but it still has to be painful.

(Seriously, please don't try this at home.)

The way humans have learned to adapt to drastically different environments, from the sweltering tropics to the Arctic tundra, is incredible, and it's fascinating to get a close-up look at how people make life work in those extremes. Thank you, Kiun B., for giving us a glimpse of what it's like to experience life in the dead of winter in the world's coldest inhabited places.

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