Editors’ pick: 11 hidden gems on our global health blog in 2021

Some stories on our blog Goats and Soda find an audience. Sometimes they don’t. And when that happens, we editors get really bummed out!

That’s why we’re putting the spotlight on stories from 2021 that we think deserve more pageviews.

You’ll learn about a group in Germany that teaches refugee women how to ride a bike. A Facebook page in Senegal that helps people find lost items like smartphones — and sheep! And a profile of a wheelchair basketball champion who has been finding creative ways to stay on top of her game during the pandemic.

We hope you’ll find some time this holiday season to read these stories. Who knows, maybe they’ll go viral.

So you lost a wallet or a phone — or a horse. Senegal has a Facebook page for that

It started when Moustapha Sané lost his wallet in Dakar. He created the Facebook page “Trouvés ou Perdus” (French for found or lost). It often leads to a reunion, though some pigeons are still M.I.A. Published Oct. 3, 2021

These 4 college freshmen from India have a remarkable story to tell

They came from families that have faced seemingly insurmountable hardships and were admitted by top U.S. colleges. A school in India gave them their chance. Published Nov. 6, 2021

A 15-year-old girl invented a solar ironing cart that’s winning global respect

Vinisha Umashankar came up with the idea of solar power instead of charcoal to heat street irons. “Iron-Max” was a finalist for Prince William’s Earthshot Prize, and in November, she spoke at COP26. Published Nov. 3, 2021

They found it! The long-lost album by Zambia’s president: ‘We Shall Fight HIV/AIDS’

Kenneth Kaunda spoke out about HIV when African leaders would not even acknowledge its existence. He sang about it, too, in a 2005 album that made a splash, then vanished. And so a search began. Published Sept. 26, 2021

Whatever happened to … the women who boldly declared: ‘No Sex For Fish’?

Women in a Kenyan village had a radical idea to stop the practice of trading sex for fish to sell: What if they owned their own boats? They had great success. Then came a series of terrible setbacks. Published Sept. 19. 2021

‘A beautiful feeling’: Refugee women in Germany learn the joy of riding bikes

They come from countries where the idea of a girl on a bicycle is often taboo. Now a group called Bikeygees is teaching them to master the pedals. For the new riders, it’s a lifelong dream come true. Published Aug. 22, 2021

This teen is being pushed to wed because of the pandemic. Her school helps her resist

She’s one of 110 girls in a boarding program run by the Veerni Institute in India. When lockdowns hit, they were sent home to their villages, where child marriage is rampant. Published Aug. 12, 2021

Shoot that invisible ball! How a top wheelchair player keeps up her game in lockdown

Sinet An and her Cambodian basketball teammates had their first big international win in late 2019. Then came COVID. Now they practice via Zoom — and dream of their return to the court. Published July 5, 2021

Buried alive in Mongolia’s worst sandstorms in a decade

Even the rescue teams could not go forward during one of the fiercest of many sandstorms this spring. Herders have lost their herds — an estimated 1.6 million livestock — and their lives. Published May 30, 2021

How the sewing machine gave power — and fashion cred — to African women

In ‘The African Lookbook,’ Catherine McKinley bends, stretches and tears the fabric of what mainstream history has been telling us about African women in the clothing industry. Published May 13, 2021

COMIC: For my job, I check death tolls from COVID. Why am I numb to the numbers?

Each week I check the latest deaths from COVID-19 for NPR. After a while, I didn’t feel any sorrow at the numbers. I just felt numb. I wanted to understand why — and how to overcome that numbness. Published Apr. 25, 2021

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