The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that has flooded social media platforms for the past couple of weeks has, despite its charitable cause, stirred up controversy about excess and unnecessary waste of water. Some critics chastise Californians and point to the serious drought the state is currently facing, and others find fault with the participants’ lack of precaution and consideration for those living in conditions where water is dirty and scarce.
Without badmouthing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a journalist from Hyperabad, India decided to slightly tweak the original challenge into an “Indian version for Indian needs.” Instead of using ice, the latest Rice Bucket Challenge calls for participants to fill a bucket with rice and give it to those who are needy, raising awareness of hunger and scarcity of resources in India.
The challenge gets rid of the option to opt out of donating by pouring ice water on your head, and instead, ensures that the challenge focuses on the cause: helping those in need.
The Rice Bucket Challenge Facebook page, which only launched a couple of days ago, has already garnered over 44,000 likes. The new-and-improved challenge was started by journalist (and, appropriately, an employee for a global rice research website) Manju Latha Kalanidhi, who is astounded at the wave the challenge has created, from India to the United States.
“It has a small incentive–post a photo and get liked…but from Sweden, from Australia, from America, people came up with their own little versions,” said Kalanidhi. “I sat up the whole night. Amazing to see the shares and the likes…It is like a social media tsunami. Exponential. It goes one, four sixteen…”
This could potentially spark a movement of “rice bucket challenges” all over the world, helping the needy in poverty-stricken areas of China to the unfortunate living on Skid Row in Downtown Los Angeles. However, it is important to keep in mind that these social media-crazed, hashtagged challenges should not be a platform for participants to highlight their own act of generosity, but instead an opportunity to contribute individual efforts into a larger, worldwide movement for improving the lives of the less fortunate.
[Photos credited to: Rice Bucket Challenge Facebook page]