14 Apr 2024

Good News: Stories that cheered us up for the week 8-14 April

7:31 pm on 14 April 2024
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Photo: RNZ

StarJam's epic fundraiser, a Wellington couple challenging perceptions of autism and a Canterbury violin-maker are among this week's feel-good stories from RNZ.

Emergency fund-raising drive saves StarJam

Two StarJam attendees.

StarJam was facing a shortfall in funding. Photo: Supplied / StarJam

The charity dedicated to empowering young people with disabilities through music and dance will remain open after the epic success of an emergency appeal. In less than a week, the not-for-profit raised more than $165,000.

The SOS - Save Our StarJam appeal was launched on Tuesday after StarJam was faced with a shortfall in funding.

"It has been a testament to our whānau coming together, along with the wider community who have shared the campaign widely and generously donated," chief executive Gilli Sinclair told RNZ.

Pasifika autism group a vehicle for change

Daniel Filimoni and Anna Filemoni his wife and two children.

Daniel Filimoni and Anna Filemoni his wife and two children. Photo: Supplied

Samoan couple Daniel and Anna Filemoni lead the Wellington-based Pasifika Autism Support Group, which is challenging Pacific communities to rethink their views and the language describing people on the autistic spectrum. The group uses Pacific languages, cultural practices and hospitality to make it a tailored experience for various Pacific communities. The group also includes European/Kiwi families - it's "open to everyone".

Swiss women win climate case in European Court of Human Rights

Members of Swiss association Senior Women for Climate Protection react after the announcement of decisions after a hearing of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to decide in three separate cases if states are doing enough in the face of global warming in rulings that could force them to do more, in Strasbourg, eastern France, on April 9, 2024. Europe's top rights court on April 9 said Switzerland was not doing enough to tackle climate change, in the first such ruling on the responsibility of states in curbing global warming. The ECHR however threw out two other cases against European states on procedural grounds. (Photo by Frederick FLORIN / AFP)

Members of Senior Women for Climate Protection celebrate their win in Strasbourg. Photo: AFP / Frederick Florin

A group of older Swiss women have won the first-ever climate case victory in the European Court of Human Rights.

The women, mostly in their 70s, said that their age and gender made them particularly vulnerable to the effects of heatwaves linked to climate change. The court said Switzerland's efforts to meet its emission reduction targets had been woefully inadequate.

It's the first time the powerful court has ruled on global warming. The ruling is binding and can trickle down to influence the law in 46 countries in Europe, including the UK.

Inside a violin-maker's workshop

Stringed instrument maker Tobi Widemann

Stringed instrument maker Tobi Widemann Photo: Supplied / Tobi Widemann

Raised in Germany, Tobi Widemann's first experience with violins was as a player in his childhood, but he was also a child who loved making things. When he was in his teens, a friend suggested he go along to a talk by a violin maker. Widemann was hooked.

He married a Kiwi and now crafts violins, violas and even a few cellos in Canterbury. You've been hearing his instruments for a while - they're played by members of our leading orchestras, as well as the joint winner of the 2024 National Concerto Competition, Peter Gjelsten.

Iwi-led drought scheme changing lives in the Far North

Site supervisor Rob Purchase, centre, with Tupu Plumbing tauira (students) and kaimahi (workers).

Site supervisor Rob Purchase, centre, with Tupu Plumbing tauira (students) and kaimahi (workers). Photo: RNZ

An iwi-led drought relief programme, Puna Wai Ora, is changing lives in the Far North - one water tank at a time.

The scheme is led by Te Aupōuri Development Trust, which also set up Tupu Plumbing - a youth training scheme targeting those who have been unemployed for a year or more. The idea is to give them skills and help them into apprenticeships and eventually trade careers. Great-grandmother Atholene Ngauma recently had a rainwater tank installed, so she now has safe drinking water.

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