Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Free Rice Dot Com: Saving the World’s Poor One Grain at a Time?

As the UN’s Top Brass still being busy formulating equitable ways to solve our current food crisis, a humble online vocabulary game has been slowly saving the lives of the world’s starving poor. Is this the model of a brilliant solution?

By: Vanessa Uy

The recent problem of the skyrocketing food prices of our staple foods has increased further the burdens of our impoverished brethren. It even resulted to widespread riots and civil unrest that caused poor nations on the brink of anarchy. As the world’s powers-that-be formulate solutions, an upstart online vocabulary improvement game has been doing its part in feeding the world’s poor.

Colloquially known as “free rice dot com” after the game site’s URL www.freerice.com, this online vocabulary improvement and tutorial game has proven its popularity to school kids across the world. In America, it not only serves as a way of improving one’s SAT scores or other vocabulary tests, but also donates 20 grains of rice to the humanitarian relief organizations currently in operation around the world every time the player gets a correct answer. Talk about being able to help others while helping yourself improve your vocabulary. Now that's what I call philanthropy.

I just hope that free rice dot com will serve as a model for online humanitarian relief sites that also entertain its users, players, and donors. World hunger should not be the intransigent (i-n-t-r-a-n-s-i-g-e-n-t) problem that it needs to be. So, what about that online game about being a UN chemical munitions inspector doing your job while evading enemy fire and shooting back at hostile troops?

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