India takes ice bucket challenge in new direction

The North American ice bucket challenge for ALS, started in July of this year, has hit a global level making its way to India. Instead of using ice though, local Indians are using rice as a way to help the country’s vast poor population.

The rice challenge, which has also gone viral on social media, involves donating a bucket of rice to a family in need then clicking their photo to share online with the tag #RiceBucketChallenge. Started by journalist Manju Latha Kalanidhi, the Facebook page has already passed more than 52,000 ‘likes’.

His inspiration for the Rice Bucket Challenge came from the ice bucket challenge; a challenge where people are filmed having a bucket of ice water poured over their heads to encourage donations for ALS, a neurodegenerative disease. Kalanidhi admits, “I felt (the ice bucket challenge) was a little bizarre … hunger is a disease anybody would connect with.”

Mass hunger, which is largely poverty-induced, is a pressing issue in India as the country continues to rank high on the International Food Policy Research Institute’s Global Hunger Index. Out of 78 countries, India ranks 63.