India Interior

Bucketfuls of nourishment for the needy

Usha Rai | Updated on March 10, 2018 Published on November 03, 2017

Giving joy Kolkata rises to the challenge   -  usha rai

Kolkata man aces rice bucket challenge with a record 39,000-kg contribution

Since 2014, a social initiative called ‘rice bucket challenge’ has given new meaning to philanthropy in India, and involves collecting and distributing this staple grain to the poor and needy.

The idea of the challenge is to get people to compete with one another in giving. Early this year, Mohammed Tauseef Rahman of Kolkata created a new record by distributing about 39,000 kg in five hours at the Ladies Park in Park Circus.

Started as an online social initiative by journalist Manju Latha Kalanidhi in Hyderabad, the challenge began with ‘Likes’ and shares on Facebook. Tauseef took part in the first challenge in Kolkata in December 2014.

Last year he again distributed 19,000 kg of rice in association with the Kolkata-based NGO Tiljala Shed.

This year’s donation, his third so far, was the biggest, with online retailer Big Basket and seven to eight other local people contributing rice. Even as the distribution started, the contributions of rice kept coming in till the last minute. The queue of recipients seemed endless and there were hiccups like the polythene carry bags tearing under the weight of the rice — 5 kg a person. The recipients had been identified earlier and given a slip of paper each, which they produced on the day of distribution.

The rice bucket challenge was inspired by the Ice Bucket Challenge started abroad by an association for people with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), to create awareness about the ailment and raise funds for further research. It involved pouring a bucket of ice cold water on a person’s head.

Rather than waste precious water, Kalanidhi turned the concept on its head by making the challenge all about raising donations of rice for the poor and hungry.

The Facebook page was launched on August 23, 2014, and received 7,000 likes within a day. The Twitter hashtag #ricebucketchallenge followed and, within a month, it had been tweeted 11,000 times.

The challenge also received extensive coverage in the mainstream media.

Kalanidhi says that as long as the concept reminds people to share, it serves its primary purpose.

Today, the Facebook page has over 65,000 followers and it recently helped raise more than 800 kg of rice for the Maa Illu Orphanage in Hyderabad.

In Kolkata, Tauseef handled the entire event and plans an even bigger one next year.

The writer is a senior journalist based in Delhi

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Published on November 03, 2017
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