More than a million people worldwide have poured buckets of ice water over their heads as part of a fund-raising campaign for ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
But when word of the challenge made its way to India, where more than 100 million people lack access to clean drinking water, locals weren’t exactly eager to drench themselves with the scarce supply. And so, a spinoff was born.
Manju Kalanidhi, a 38-year-old journalist from Hyderabad who reports on the global rice market, put her own twist on the challenge. She calls her version the Rice Bucket Challenge, but don’t worry, no grains of rice went to waste. Instead, they went to the hungry.
Kalanidhi chose to focus on hunger. A third of India’s 1.2 billion people live on less than $1.25 USD a day, and a kilogram of rice, or 2 pounds, costs between 80 cents and a dollar.
That’s why she’s challenging people to give a bucket of rice, cooked or uncooked, to a person in need. Snap a photo, share it online and, just as with the Ice Bucket Challenge, nominate friends to take part, she suggests.
Kalanidhi kicked off the campaign Friday, and posted on her personal Facebook page. Responses poured in by the hundreds, prompting her to create a page for the campaign on Saturday. It received a hundred likes in just five hours. As of today, the number of likes has topped 40,000 in what she calls a “social tsunami.”