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The Most Inspiring Stories of 2017 You Need to Know About

  • 6. Holocaust Survivor Makes Peace with his Nazi Descendant Roommate History has made amends in an apartment in Berkeley, California. 95-year-old Ben Stern is a Holocaust survivor. Little did he know that when he was in need of a roommate, 31-year-old and Nazi descendent Lea Heitfeld would apply for the adjacent room. Despite the animosities one would expect to find in a survivor, Stern opened his door and his heart and forgave Lea for the actions of her relatives. In an interview, he says of his welcoming attitude, "It was the right thing to do. I'm doing the opposite of what [the Nazis] did." Open-mindedness is a mutual quality: Heitfeld is currently receiving her Master's degree in Jewish studies. Her history, as well as her mission to repent for her ancestor's sins, has inspired her to educate others on the necessity for religious tolerance. The unlikely roommates have developed a friendly and valuable friendship. Stern and Heitfeld reportedly spend time watching TV, preparing and eating dinner together, and sharing stories and memories. The German student provides a critical comfort for Stern, as his wife recently was put into nursing home care for dementia.
  • 7. Generous Man Drives 3,000 Gallons of Water to Thirsty Kenyan Wildlife Each Day For years, Kenya has been victim to a killer drought, drying up much of the nation's resources. Not only have people and crops suffered from the dry spell, the countless herds of wildlife have gone thirsty in the bleak and barren savannah. One man, a pea farmer named Patrick Kilonzo Mwalua, has made it his mission to drive hours out of his way each day to bring 3,000 gallons of water to Tsavo West National Park. His guiding thought was that if he didn't give them water, they would die. It was something he felt he had to do. The animals have come to recognize their human savior, and as Mwalua tells The Dodo, "When I arrived they could smell the water. The buffalo were so keen and coming close to us. They started drinking water while I was standing there. They get so excited." In addition to his daily water deliveries, Mwalua is co-founder of TSAVO Volunteers, an organization which promotes conservation education and awareness.  
  • 8. The Stylish Men's Fashion Club Changing the World's View of Iraq Mr. Ebil, Iraq's First Fashion Club, is a group of 30 fashion-forward men who are changing the social definition of what it means to be Kurdish. Not only are their semi-annual meetings an opportunity to don their most dapper suits for social media selfies, they are think-tank sessions about how revolutionize Kurdistan and resolve everyday issues. One of their latest missions is to promote respect towards women. In doing so, the group of millennial dandies also remind us that the preconceptions we have about Iraqi men are quite outdated. Read more about the mission and history of Mr. Ebil here.