India’s answer to the Ice Bucket Challenge

What do Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates have in common with Akshay Kumar, Ritesh Deshmukh and Sidharth Malhotra? They’ve all taken the #IceBucketChallenge, where individuals drench themselves using a bucket of ice water. The challenge was initiated by the ALS Association in the United States as a bid to raise funds and awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

While the challenge has achieved its objective for the organisation, several people have begun to point out that the terms of the challenge result in a huge wastage of water. In a country like India, where access to clean drinking water is a luxury for many, this particular activity seems a bit counter-productive.

Happily, someone has provided a better alternative, and designed a new version that Indians can participate in. It’s called the #RiceBucketChallenge, and is being hailed as India’s answer to the IceBucket Challenge. Started by Hyderabad-based journalist Manju Latha Kalanidhi, the challenge requires you to give a bucket of cooked or uncooked rice to a hungry person or a person in need. You can also give money to a charity that does similar work, sponsor medicines at a government hospital or adapt the challenge as you wish to benefit people.

We know of several organisations that run schemes to feed the poor and hungry. It would be great to support organisations that already do this good work and help them continue this work. The NGOs mentioned below currently run programmes that benefit those in need. All the NGOs listed below are registered with HelpYourNGO, and if you would like to read more about them just click on their names.

So consider yourself nominated for the #RiceBucketChallenge by us, and do keep these NGOs in mind while giving!

  1. Akshaya Patra: The Akshaya Patra Foundation is renowned for its mid-day meal scheme. Their industrial-sized kitchen serves more than 1.2 million children in schools across the country every day. They’re trying to reach out to 5 million kids in the future. Read more about their work and get in touch with them here.



    Vegetables being readied for preparation at Akshaya Patra's kitchens
    Vegetables being readied for preparation at Akshaya Patra's kitchens
    Vegetables being readied for preparation at Akshaya Patra’s kitchens[/caption]

  2. Goonj..: One of the areas in which Goonj.. works is disaster relief. They’ve intervened during the floods in Uttarakhand, and are currently working for communities affected by the floods in Orissa and West Bengal. Goonj.. will accept dry rations for communities who have been badly affected by the floods. You can donate rice to them or donate money that they will use for their flood relief efforts. Contact them at or check out their work at
  3. ISKCON Food Relief Foundation (IFRF): IFRF believes that ‘no child should go hungry’. They’ve received an ISO22000 certification for the staff in their 18 kitchens across 7 states. Get in touch with them at 022-23531530 or at
  4. Prem Seva Mahila Mandal Kalyan: PSMMK runs a regular mid-day meal programme for the children they reach out to. They’ve put up a chart that outlines how much their food and supplies cost, so this handy guide will give you an idea of how many children you can impact. If you’d like to give to them, contact them at 251-2207464 or
  5. Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled: Samarthanam’s ‘Vidyaprasad’ programme was launched in 2002, and serves 250,000 mid-day meals each month to children in 54 government schools in Karnataka. Email for more details, or check out their website at

Click here to learn more details about the #RiceBucketChallenge!

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