Image via @alexandr_ford

2017 was a big year.

Big election. Big results. Big protests and big backlash.

But instead of dwelling on the negative, let’s focus on the GOOD things that happened in the year preceding us. The triumphs and the glimpses of hope. The events that inspired us and shaped us. The moments that we’ll remember forever – and that we’ll use as arsenal to enter 2018 brighter, bolder and more uplifted than ever.

Here they are – the little things that happened throughout the year that will make a big positive impact on lives.

Image via Global Giving

1. Strangers uniting to help others during Hurricane Harvey

In the darkest of times, during the devastating hurricane that hit Houston this year, we saw a beautiful display of humanity and comeradie among the people of Texas. Boat owners mobilized to save people in flooded houses, neighbours combined their strength to reach out to people stuck in cars, and an all-round feeling of good grace inspired us all.

2. Raw Sugar donated over 500,000 bars of soap to people in need

Not many people are aware that hygiene is a major world issue. In fact, 32% of people don’t have access to the resources needed to sustain a healthy level of hygiene – which can cause diseases and a myriad of health issues. So, to do our bit, we partnered with Direct Relief in July and handed out over 500,000 fresh bars of soap to people who needed them most. It was part of our Raw Sugar Initiative – something we plan to exercise even further in 2018. Watch this space.

Image via The Oscars

3. Diversity at the Oscars

Are we the only ones who cheered the roof off when a list of well-overdue, well-deserved wins were handed out at the Oscars? We saw a kind of diversity we haven’t seen honored on our screens in a while – and it was beautiful.

4. Malala Yousafzai started college at Oxford
In one of the most inspiring turn-of-events situations to ever have happened, Malala started her studies at Oxford 5 years after being shot in the head by the Taliban for trying to go to school. After all the incredible things Malala has achieved in the past few years, this one might be the most important – as Oxford is the same school Benazir Bhutto attended, who went on to be the first female prime minister of Malala’s native Pakistan.

Image via Independent

5. Villagers in India knitted sweaters to protect elephants from the cold

This year, elephants in India started sporting multi-colored sweaters after villagers banded together to hand-knit super-sized woollies for the animals to protect them from the near-freezing temperatures. These formerly-abused animals were living at a nearby conservation centre – and when staff warned that they might be in danger from the cold, women of the village wouldn’t hear of it. They produced warm, colorful garments to see the creatures through the winter – and give them another chance at life.

Are you feeling inspired by the positive events that were in 2017? Let’s all make a pact to be the change we wish to see in the world in 2018… and just watch the magic happen.