Can we ever defy the age old saying “Charity begins at home”? And India of-course is a bigger home with no less issues and concerns that need more focused attention. So, the ALS ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ now has a desi version, The Rice Bucket Challenge. The desi challenge has been initiated by Manju Latha Kalanidhi from Hyderabad.
Manju is a 38-year-old journalist with about 17 years experience in Indian Express and Deccan Chronicle. She is currently working with a US-based website as their Senior Editor and India correspondent.
In an exclusive conversation with LifeBeyondNumbers, Manju shares why and how she kick-started this challenge and the reaction this noble challenge is getting from the citizens.
The Rice Bucket Challenge: Why
I get irritated by this new age ‘clicktivism’ where people think they are doing a big deal by just clicking or ‘liking’ something and without doing anything concrete. When a lot of my Indian friends took up the IceBucketChallenge and took the easy and fun way out of dumping cold water onto themselves and shrieking in horror, I felt it was a lazy way of promoting a cause. I felt strongly about doing something instead of just sharing, commenting or liking something. And then the RiceBucketChallenge idea hit me, obviously as a spoof of the original one.
The Rice Bucket Challenge: How
Rice is a staple in India and we have always been encouraged to donate rice or feed the poor. I wanted to do something local, practical and tangible with rice. That’s how the RiceBucketChallenge took birth. Since a picture speaks a thousand words, I felt I should first practice before I preach. The very same day, my husband Vijeye Devuni and I chose a daily labour called Sathibabu for this. He sells idly/dosa on his bicycle every day in our vicinity. Even one day of sickness and not selling idlis means he has to skip a meal as he has not earned for that day. I donated one bucket of rice to him (22 kg worth Rs 880) and he was happy to receive ration for almost a month for his family of five.
Soon after I posted the pic on my facebook, I saw the staggering effect of social media. A lot of NRIs seemed to be very tickled with this desi Indian challenge and got it trending. So far it has garnered 2839 likes and 15,000 people read it (in about 48 hours). There are abt 500 likes/views across LinkedIn, google plus etc which Vijeye Devuni has put up. I think that at least 1000 people must have seen it and even if one-tenth of them donate something, our very own desi version of RiceBucketChallenge will be a hit. I am presuming that the weekend will see some concrete activity as many genuine promised to do so. Someone else opened the FB page and dedicated to the RiceBucketChallenge.
One gentleman called Sam Paul donated Rs 9,000 towards Little Drops NGO towards bags of rice to be used by the charity organization. And his story goes something like this in his own words: “Hats off: I thought the Ice bucket challenge was cool, but today when i read the Hindu about the rice bucket challenge, wow much cooler. Manju Latha from Hyderabad has got this idea. Good thinking and hats off. So I called Paul uncle from Little Drops 9884080864 and he told me it is Rs 3000 per rice bag. one bag will help 350 destitutes and orphans eat solid 3 meals for 1 full day. So I gave 3 rice bags to little drop and challenge De Prabhu Prabhu Laksshman Buddy Regeena Jeppiaar Aruna R Krishnan Runima Biswas Vanessa Coelho Lenin Paul Mario Desmond Weller Mahendra Sambandan Veena Joseph Christina Mary Priya Paul Apsara Reddy Karun Raman Dinesh Raj RK Suresh Aishvarrya Suresh C Rishita Sawlani Arthi Aniruda Percival Naveen Howie To donate minimum One bag of rice and nominate others. If you don’t donate u have to cook something and give it to the poor near your house. Either a picture of the cheque or you guys cooking, be a sport and lets do this…u can donate to anyone u think deserves it..”
The Rice Bucket Challenge: What You Need To Do
It’s simple. All you got to do is walk into your kitchen pick up a bowl of rice and call the nearest needy person. May be a vegetable seller, your maid, your driver or any one you find who needs it. Go and just give it to them, click a picture and post it on the Rice Bucket Challenge facebook page and inspire & challenge others.
Can we make this Rice Bucket Challenge equally successful like the Ice Bucket Challenge? Can we take this challenge out to the rest of the world? Can we wish to see our Bollywood and Hollywood stars taking up the Rice Bucket Challenge? Can it be a success also without the glamor quotient?