It wasn't all bad: 2020's most uplifting stories

From dancing nurses to pets reuniting with their owners, these moments brought light to a tough year

US pop singer Cher gestures in front of the crate of Kaavan the Asian elephant upon his arrival in Cambodia from Pakistan at Siem Reap International Airport in Siem Reap on November 30, 2020.  / AFP / TANG CHHIN Sothy

This year has been particularly challenging for many. A global pandemic, economic downturns, wars and police brutality were just some of the issues the world was fighting, but there were some moments of light which inspired people to keep going.

Here are some of the most uplifting stories of the year to brighten your day:

Beirut's animals reunited with owners after port blast

The August 4 port explosion in Beirut killed over 200 people and destroyed hundreds of buildings in the Lebanese capital.

In the carnage, pets ran scared from homes, but a swashbuckling group of volunteers set up and online and on the ground effort to reunite the people of Beirut with their pets.

Animals Lebanon has taken on six new staff members since the blast after donations poured in and are supporting locals with pet care and food.

Thousands volunteer to help others

It may have been a year to stay home, but that didn't stop millions from doing their bit to help their communities. James Reinl wrote about some of those efforts, including Kung Fu Nuns, the Red Cross and restaurants in Dubai offering free meals to the needy.

"People are seeing the crazy stuff that's going on and they want to do something," Alan Henzy in Oregon told The National.

Mr Henzy spent two weeks helping to provide those rendered homeless by the Oregon bush fires with money, meals, hotel rooms and any medicines they had lost in the blaze. It made him feel “privileged” for living a comfy, calamity-free life.

Learn more about the selfless acts people around the world are carrying out here.

Nurses dance away the fear of Covid

It was a tough year for medical staff around the world trying to manage hospitals full of coronavirus patients. In Iran, some nurses and doctors decided to cheer patients up by dancing while dressed in full PPE.

Raising mountains of cash - with a walk around the garden

Two elderly Brits inspired their nation and the world by completing laps of their gardens. Captain Tom Moore raised over £32 million for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden and Dabirul Islam Choudhury raised £420,000 by walking 970 laps of his 80-metre garden during Ramadan.

Captain Tom, 100, was knighted and Mr Choudhury, also 100, awarded an Order of the British Empire for their efforts.

World's loneliest elephant finds a new home and new friends

Thanks to a little help from pop star Cher, Kaavan the elephant finally made it to his new home in Cambodia in December after languishing in an Islamabad zoo for years after the death of his mate.

The flight took seven hours, during which he remained calm, according to Four Paws, the animal welfare group that organised his rescue. Amir Khalil, a veterinarian working with the Austria-based group, said he behaved "like a frequent flyer".

Soon after his arrival, Four Paws released a video of Kaavan meeting a new friend.

More than one viable vaccine

As soon as the coronavirus began to spread, vaccine teams across the world got to work. By the end of the year, inoculations were being given out in Saudi Arabia, US, UK and a host of other nations.