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Heroes

A project in rural India shows the life-saving power of something we use every day.

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CARE & Windows 10

There's nothing like the simple joy of a cellphone upgrade.

That exciting moment when you trade in your old model and realize what a brick it is compared to the latest mobile technology.


How did we survive before these? Photo by Rico Shen/Wikimedia Commons.

In some parts of the world, cellphone upgrades are about so much more than coolness or mere convenience.

Take places like Bihar — one of India's poorest states, with almost 70% of its residents living in poverty — where they're solving matters of life and death.

Bihar has some of India's highest mortality rates for mothers and babies, and outmoded practices have made that hard to overcome.

Health care workers making home visits in Bihar carry unruly stacks of ledgers to record and track medical information for hundreds of thousands of households.

Image via CARE/YouTube.

Having to lug all that extra weight from home to home wasn't the only problem; the system was also incredibly time-consuming and fraught with inaccuracies.

Cellphones are proving to be an effective tool for improving health outcomes for women and children.

Despite Bihar's poverty and extreme inequality, cellphones have become common among even the poorest workers. Many low-income Biharis, who are more likely to migrate in search of jobs, rely on them to stay connected to their families.

"Technology, tools, and training lead to transformation."

Now, humanitarians have found another vital use for cellphones in Bihar. International aid group CARE has made it possible for hundreds of Bihari health workers to trade armfuls of paper for cellphones. Through a partnership with Windows as part of its Upgrade Your World initiative, CARE will continue to support these health workers and women like them all over the world.


GIF from "The Big Bang Theory."

The phones have apps that allow health care workers to quickly set up appointments and gather information.


Image via CARE/YouTube.

The results have been astounding. In just three years, the mobile-equipped workers made over 600,000 home visits. 20% more pregnant women are getting home visits, and 13% more mothers and newborns are getting a follow-up visit within the first week after birth. This means more women and their babies are getting professional care when it’s most critical.

Improved health care access is just the start of what cellphones are making possible.

All of that data is being stashed in the cloud, where it can be analyzed for trends so the government can design and deploy bigger picture health strategies.

That means happier and healthier mothers and children...

Image via CARE/YouTube.

...and health care workers who are confident in their ability to make a difference.

Image via CARE/YouTube.

This initiative offers a hopeful lesson for humanitarians everywhere: The challenges may be great, but we may already have what we need to address them.

It's just a matter of connecting those resources with the right people because, says CARE's Ram Krishna, "technology, tools, and training lead to transformation."

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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Pop Culture

Linda Ronstadt's 1970's ballad is a chart-topping hit once again thanks to 'The Last of Us'

The iconic 70s song "Long, Long Time" was an integral part of an unforgettable episode that fans are calling a masterpiece.

Linda Ronstadt (left), Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett (right)

HBO’s emotional third episode of the zombie series “The Last Of Us” became an instant favorite among fans, thanks in no small part to Linda Ronstadt’s late 1970s ballad, “Long, Long Time.”

Using the song as the episode’s title, “Long, Long Time,” moves away from the show’s main plot to instead focus on a heartbreakingly beautiful love story between Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett), from its endearing start all the way to its bittersweet end.

The song makes its first appearance during the initial stages of Bill and Frank’s romance as they play the tune on the piano, just before they share their first kiss.

We see their entire lives together play out—one of closeness, devotion, and savoring homegrown strawberries—until they meet their end. The song then plays on the radio, bringing the bottle episode to a poignant close.

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Pop Culture

13-year-old ventriloquist sings incredible, sassy version of 'You Don't Own Me' on 'AGT'

Ana-Maria Mărgean only started her hobby in 2020 and is already wowing audiences on "America's Got Talent."

America's Got Talent/Youtube

Ana-Maria Mărgean singing "You Don't Own Me" on "America's Got Talent"

It’s not every day a ventriloquist act is so jaw-dropping that it has to be seen to be believed. But when it does happen, it’s usually on “America’s Got Talent.”

Ana-Maria Mărgean was only 11 years old when she first took to the stage on “Romania’s Got Talent” to show off her ventriloquism skills, an act inspired by videos of fellow ventriloquist and “America’s Got Talent” Season 2 champion Terry Fator.

Using puppets built for her by her parents, the young performer tirelessly spent her quarantine time in 2020 learning how to bring them to life, which led to her receiving a Golden Buzzer and eventually winning the entire series in Romania.

Mărgean is now 13 and a competitor on this season of “America’s Got Talent: All-Stars,” hoping to be crowned the winner and perform her own show in Vegas, just like her hero Fator.

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Joy

34-year-old man is learning to read on TikTok in series of motivational videos

His reading skills have improved so much that he plans to read 100 books this year.

@oliverspeaks1/TikTok

Oliver James is the biggest star on BookTok.

With over 125,000 followers, 34-year-old Oliver James is a star in the BookTok community. And it all started with a very simple goal: Learn to read.

For most kids, school is a place where they can develop a relationship with learning in a safe environment. For James, school was the opposite. Growing up with learning and behavior disabilities subjected him to abusive teaching practices in special education, which, of course, did nothing to help.

"The special education system at the time was more focused on behavioral than educating," he told Good Morning America. "So they spent a lotta time restraining us, a lotta time disciplining us, a lotta times putting us in positions to kinda shape us to just not act out in class."

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Pop Culture

Buffy Sainte-Marie shares what led to her openly breastfeeding on 'Sesame Street' in 1977

The way she explained to Big Bird what she was doing is still an all-time great example.

"Sesame Street" taught kids about life in addition to letters and numbers.

In 1977, singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie did something revolutionary: She fed her baby on Sesame Street.

The Indigenous Canadian-Ameican singer-songwriter wasn't doing anything millions of other mothers hadn't done—she was simply feeding her baby. But the fact that she was breastfeeding him was significant since breastfeeding in the United States hit an all-time low in 1971 and was just starting to make a comeback. The fact that she did it openly on a children's television program was even more notable, since "What if children see?" has been a key pearl clutch for people who criticize breastfeeding in public.

But the most remarkable thing about the "Sesame Street" segment was the lovely interchange between Big Bird and Sainte-Marie when he asked her what she was doing.

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via Pexels

A couple celebrates while packing their home.

One of the topics that we like to highlight on Upworthy is people who are redefining what it means to be in a relationship. Recently, we’ve shared the stories of platonic life partners, moms who work together as part of a “mommune” and a polyamorous family with four equally-committed parents.

A growing number of people are reevaluating traditional relationships and entering lifestyles that work for them instead of trying to fit into preexisting roles. It makes sense because the more lifestyle options that are available, the greater chance we have to be happy.

A recent trend in unconventional relationships is married couples "living apart together," or LATs as they are known among mental health professionals.

Actress Helena Bonham Carter and director Tim Burton, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and producer Brad Falchuk, and photographer Annie Leibovitz and activist Susan Sontag are all high-profile couples who’ve embraced the LAT lifestyle.

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