In the streets of Hyderabad, a city in south India home to some six million people, journalist Manju Latha Kalanidhi pulled out his bucket.
Unlike hordes of Canadians, Americans, Brits, and others who have been filling their buckets with ice and water, Kalanidhi filled his with rice. After loading it up, he didn’t dump it over his head – instead, he donated it to the country’s poor and hungry population.
Dubbed the #RiceBucketChallenge, the spirit of giving is in the early stages of sweeping the nation. So far, the campaign’s Facebook page has received over 54,000 Likes.
The team behind Thrill, a start-up dating app, took to the streets to participate, and their video gives a good example of what this new campaign is all about:
As reported by Reuters, other companies institutions are also trying to get more people involved. The Indian Institute of Management has already participated, while AirAsia India said that its senior management will complete the challenge next week. As more companies join on board and send out nominations for others to join, the hope is the campaign will continue to snowball.
2014’s Harlem Shake?
That snowballing effect helped bring tremendous success to the Ice Bucket Challenge. If you’re somehow still unfamiliar with the campaign, it goes like this: An individual is nominated to take the challenge. They must then either donate money to the ALS Association (in North America) or the Motor Neurone Disease Association (in the UK) or proceed to fill a bucket with ice water and subsequently dump it over their heads. In some variations, dumping the water on your head excuses you from donating, while in others it reduces the cost.
According to the New York Times, over one million people have posted videos of the challenge. It’s a campaign that’s received attention from big-time celebrities like Tina Fey and Justin Bieber to businesspeople and politicians like Bill Gates and George W. Bush to models like Kate Moss and athletes like Lebron James and Alex Morgan. Even Kermit the Frog got in on the action:
From July 29 to August 21, the ALS Association had received $41.8 million in donations, more than double what was received in the previous year. By the two most crucial forms of measurement, awareness and financial contributions, the campaign has been a massive success.
The campaign hasn’t been immune to criticism. Maclean’s wrote about how the financial donations per death related to disease was way out of whack. Slate called out folks who were simply hopping on the viral trend and pushing the charity element to the backburner. Vox spoke out about the culture that allows celebrities and viral memes to drive our donations.
More recently, as the ALS Association announced its desire to trademark “ice bucket challenge,” blow back has intensified.
Same Buckets, Different Stories
Much like the #RiceBucketChallenge, the idea has been appropriated to bring attention to other causes around the globe.
Edith Brou, a blogger from Côte d’Ivoire, spun a twist on the challenge in hopes to spread awareness about Ebola in the West African country. Her answer was to start a “Soapy Water Bucket Challenge” to further the “Lather Against Ebola”. On this variation, people dump frothy, soapy water over their heads in an effort to educate others about hygiene amidst an area affected by the destructive disease.
As conflict raged on in Gaza, individuals on both sides adapted their own variations. The “Rubble Bucket Challenge” shows people throw sand and dirt to protest Israeli military action in Gaza. Meanwhile, three IDF soldiers did a “Hummus Challenge,” to criticize Hamas.
Finally, in one of the more photo-dramatic variations, residents of China’s Henan province used empty buckets to protest the challenge and try to bring awareness to the drought that has affected 19 million people.
Of course, others more simply get to the point of the wastefulness and general lack of philanthropy credited to the Ice Bucket Challenge.