If you have read, done, and probably dreamt enough of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, then it’s probably time you make it a little bit more appealing by adding an R in front of it – the Rice Bucket Challenge.
Started by an Indian journalist, Manju Latha Kalanidhi, this new challenge is about donating a bucket of rice to the next needy person. Like in the ALS Ice Bucket challenge, you are to snap yourself during that activity, share it on Facebook/Twitter or whichever social media you use, and nominate a friend to do the same.
Manju, who works for a niche publication dedicated to rice, thought of adding this R, and brilliantly so, when she became aware of the Ice Bucket Challenge and how it is gaining popularity in India. “The idea of dunking oneself in icy cold water, shrieking in horror and then uploading the bizarre video felt preposterous,” Manju said to Huffington Post. She made headlines in The Time, The Independent, CNN, CNBC and Times of India among others.
Manju lives in a country where more people die of hunger than from ALS, which stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or also known as the Lou Gehrig’s disease. She lives in a country where 104 million people don’t have clean drinking water. It gives shelter to 1/4 of the world’s undernourished people and it has a hunger index which is categorised as ‘alarming’. India is in fact one of three countries where this is so, other than the sub-Saharan countries of Africa.
It’s heartening it is to see how the country has responded to this. If statistics mean anything, in a day that Facebook page has gathered 80,000 users and 15,000 ‘likes’. Even the NRIs (non-resident Indians) are coming forward.
What makes the Rice Bucket Challenge different from the Ice Bucket Challenge?
You may ask, so what is the difference between the two challenges anyway? Aren’t they both charitable deeds in general? Why yes, of course they are, but here are some differences between the former and the latter.
#1 You can see the effect of the challenge instantly
Unlike the Ice Bucket Challenge where you donate the money to the organisation, the Rice Bucket Challenge let’s you see how your actions immediately changes someone’s life by giving someone what is possibly their only meal for the day. Your actions are able to keep this one person going another day without being too hungry.
#2 You can help anyone you want to
It could be a next door neighbour, it could be a young boy who is thin and scouring the street for food, or it could a total stranger whom you’ve just met. The Rice Bucket Challenge allows you to have the freedom to choose your beneficiaries. Or if you want to help more people, you can even donate the rice to a charity foundation, such as the Akshay Patra Foundation, which aims to feed schoolchildren in India.
#3 No resources are wasted in the process
Have you heard some critics complaining about the wastage of water in the Ice Bucket Challenge? Well then they will have nothing to complain about the Rice Bucket Challenge because nothing is being wasted at all. The challenge is created to be contributing wholly to a cause and there is no wastage involved.
So what should we do?
I generally maintain safe distance from Facebook but for this, I am going to make an exception. Will you? If you’re in India, you can join this challenge here.
If you’re not, however, you can still donate to the cause or even make a difference in your own community! Go ahead and create your own challenge, give a nice cold drink to a construction worker working hard under the scorching heat of the sun; give some cat food to a stray cat wandering around your neighbourhood; or give a packet of nasi lemak to that security guard who is on duty during lunch time.
These challenges are more than mere challenges to be spread around social media, they are meant to instill something in us – kindness. Go out to the world and spread some kindness and love all around!