2016 may have been controversial but it wasn't all bad. Remember some of the good stuff that tugged the ol’ heart strings? We do. Here's 7 feel-good stories from 2016, the year that was.
Shannon McKeogh

23 Dec 2016 - 3:42 PM  UPDATED 23 Dec 2016 - 3:44 PM

It’s been a controversial year: Trump, Brexit, the return of “please explain” Pauline Hanson, not to mention the loss of legends Bowie, Prince and Jim Morrison.

As we approach the firework season we called ‘New Years’, it can be easy to reflect on all the bad stuff and happily say ‘see you later’ to 2016.

But this year has also come with some cracker heart-warming and feel-good moments.

So, before you leap into 2017, let’s remember some of the good stuff that tugged the ol’ heart strings.

2016: the year of the feel-good story?


Kmart's Easter game-changing catalogue featured kids with disabilities

In March, the internet went crazy - in a good way - when Kmart released it’s first catalogue featuring a modelling cast of children who all had disabilities.

The company was praised as helping create more public acceptance for people with disability and the campaign was a real game-changer for diversity in advertising.


High tech glasses helping children with autism ‘see’ emotions

Autism Glass, a new software developed by Stanford University in the US using Google Glass technology, is currently being trialled as a breakthrough technology to improve the social skills of autistic children.

The forward facing camera on the glasses allows the wearer to examine people’s facial expressions and translate the info into a word or emoiji that appears on the screen of the right eye. This device, which emerged in 2016, can translate basic emotions and can help children with autism understand and learn how to behave and respond in social situations. 

How Zumba is helping Syrian refugee women to heal
Female Syrian refugees in Jordan are taking up Zumba to help them recover from the trauma of war.

Zumba is helping Syrian refugee women to heal

Amnesty international estimates Jordan hosts around 635,324 Syrian refugees, of these 30 per cent of registered urban refugees live in the northern city Irbid.  Irbid’s International Rescue Committee Centre is using the power of the high intensity dance work-out Zumba combined with psychological services to help Syrian refugees settle into their new life in Jordan.

Syrian refugee Samaher fled Damascus and went to Irbid with her family three years ago. In July 2015, she started Zumba.

The refugee is still using the power of exercise to improve her sense of wellbeing today.

“The negative energy – we release it outside of our bodies when we do Zumba,” Samaher says.

“It helps us to get the positive energy.”


Australia makes history by winning the 2016 Quidditch World Cup

Forget cricket and footy, Aussies are the new international champions for the Harry Potter-inspired Quidditch World Cup.

The broomstick clutching Australian Drop Bears defeated the US National team in a gruelling game of 150 – 130, with the snitch being caught by Australia in the final moments. The modified ground Quidditch has been growing in popularity at an international level.

The World Cup is played every two years and 2016 marks the first time the US has lost the championship title.


Popular yoga class teaches sacred Aboriginal spirituality

On Gadigal Land, in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs, not-for-profit yoga organisation Heartdancers has respectfully combined the ancient practice of yoga with the spirit of Aboriginal culture in a fusion yoga class.

The “weaving Aboriginal sounds and stories with yoga” class began in early 2016 and aims to connect students with the sacred land, pay respect to traditional custodians through harmonious stretches and movements.

The yoga class was created in 2016, in collaboration with Binowee Bayles, a proud Birri-Gubba, Kungalu, Wonnarua and Bundjalung woman and respected musician, dancer and storyteller in the Sydney community.

SBS is told that the class fee goes towards funding the advancement of Indigenous musicians and artists in the Sydney community.

‘Airbnb for refugees’ set to launch in Australia next year
"I can sign petitions, have my voice heard at rallies, write letters to the Government - but nothing changes... suddenly I can do something tangible."

Airbnb for refugees set to launch in Australia

Here’s some good news now for next year. The German app ‘Refugees Welcome’ will launch in Australia, proving that the sharing economy is not all about cheap uber-rides and accommodation.

The platform matches refugees and asylum seekers with people offering a spare room while they are resettling in the new country. Sydney group, ‘Enough Room’ are also looking at launching a similar national platform that focuses on a mutually beneficial and cultural exchange.

Weaving Indigenous sounds and stories into yoga
A Sydney-based organisation is fusing Indian and Indigenous-Australian yoga traditions.

Christmas in the maternity ward is the cutest time of the year

You’ll think all your Christmases have come at once when you see the photos featured in this story. And we promise it’s not just click bait.

Inside the Aussie hospitals helping babies celebrate their first Christmas
From stockings to hand-sewn teddies, tinsel and Saint Nicks: Meet the people making Christmas special for babies in hospital this year.

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