News

Rice replaces ice in India bucket challenge

Rice replaces ice in India bucket challenge

An Indian school boy eats a midday meal provided free at a government school in Hyderabad, India, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013. India has offered free midday school meals since the 1960s in an effort to persuade poor parents to send their children to school, a program that reaches some 120 million children. The country now plans to subsidize wheat, rice and cereals for some 800 million people under a $20 billion scheme to cut malnutrition and ease poverty. Photo: Associated Press/Mahesh Kumar A.

By Aditya Kalra

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The famous “ice bucket” challenge is inspiring thousands of Indians to follow suit, but with a twist – they are replacing ice with rice in a bid to help the country’s vast population of poor, hungry people.

The challenge, going viral on social media, involves donating a bucket of rice to someone in need and clicking a picture to share online, with a tag #RiceBucketChallenge, to raise awareness.

Started by 38-year-old journalist Manju Latha Kalanidhi in the southern city of Hyderabad, the movement’s Facebook page defines it as a “local challenge for local needs” and has clocked more than 52,000 ‘likes’ so far.

The inspiration was drawn from the “ice bucket” challenge, in which people pour a bucket of ice-cold water over their heads to encourage donations for research into Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a neurodegenerative disease. Celebrities such as software tycoon Bill Gates and tennis great Roger Federer have participated.

“I felt (the ice bucket challenge) was a little bizarre … hunger is a disease anybody would connect with,” Kalanidhi told Reuters.

Kalanidhi’s project has started to draw mass support. Students of the Indian Institute of Management in the southern state of Kerala posted a video after donating rice, while budget airline AirAsia India said its chief executive and senior management will participate on Monday.

Mass hunger, much of it poverty-induced, continues to haunt India. The country last year ranked 63rd on a list of 78 countries tracked by the International Food Policy Research Institute’s Global Hunger Index. China ranked sixth.

Tackling poverty is high on new Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s agenda. On Thursday, he launched a banking-for-all scheme that he said should end “financial untouchability” and help lift people out of poverty.

India is the world’s second-biggest rice consumer, with reserves of 21.2 million tonnes of the grain by July 1. It was the world’s biggest rice exporter last year.

(Editing by Douglas Busvine and Clarence Fernandez)

Recent Headlines

in Local

Recall: Popular Kroger-brand spices are taken off Fred Meyer shelves

Fresh
Kroger spices recalled

If you’ve bought popular Kroger spices such as cinnamon, garlic powder, course ground black pepper or Bac’n Buds, these products may be contaminated with Salmonella

in Local

Foreclosures in Bellingham are down

Fresh
House Real Estate

The CoreLogic National Foreclosure Report shows nearly half a percent drop in Bellingham from last year.

in Local

New waterfront trail opens

Fresh
waterfront

The new waterfront trail is finally open. The trail is a part of the Waterfront District Redevelopment Project to redevelop what used to be a pulp and tissue manufacturing facility.

in Local Sports

Former WSU kicker Andrew Furney cut by Jets

Fresh
wsu cougars washington state univeristy pac 12 football logo

Furney spent last summer with the Jets, and kicked a 51-yard game-winning field goal in New York's preseason opening win over Indianapolis.

in Sports

Angels OF Trout out against Houston with wrist injury

Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout gets ready for his at-bat during the first inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners on Monday, March 31, 2014, in Anaheim, Calif.

The All-Star center fielder was hurt attempting to make a diving catch in the fourth inning on Sunday