Can an online game played on one side of the continent make a difference in the lives of children on the other end?
SIEM REAP – During the early hours of one Wednesday morning, bystanders around Chrey Cheung Primary School, located some 300km northwest of Phnom Penh, were treated to a delightful sight – two foreigners, together with the teachers were frantically cooking up a storm.
The visitors, Jaesung Lee and Yunyoung Chang, are NCSOFT’s Executive Director of Public Relations and External Affairs and Company Associate, respectively. They flew from South Korea to personally witness the impact their company is making on the lives of the children they are helping.
Five years ago, NCSOFT, a gaming company in Korea, developed the Korean version of WFP’s online game “Food Force” – a socially interactive game which educates its players on the challenges of distributing food assistance in emergencies.Since then, NCSOFT has been an avid advocate of WFP’s work, contributing almost US$300,000 for WFP's School Meals Programme in Cambodia which has ensured that 30,000 primary schoolchildren get to eat nutritious food at least once a day."We are happy to support WFP in its efforts to end hunger worldwide and support schoolchildren with daily meals by sharing our technical expertise in developing online games and other multimedia products", says Lee.
Over the course of their two-day visit, NCSOFT met communities assisted by WFP through its various programmes – School Feeding, Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition and Food-for-Assets programmes – in Siem Reap province. At Chrey Cheung Primary School, apart from helping cook and distribute the meals, Lee and Chang also gamely taught and played baseball with the students – a new game for the children – which inevitably led to a lot of laughter.
Furthermore, through this visit, as they observed the living conditions of the food scholarship beneficiaries, NCSOFT affirmed their corporate social responsibility strategy of helping disadvantaged children live a better life. “We are glad to visit the schools and see the children eating the rice we provided. We recognize the importance of having a full stomach so that these kids will have the energy to concentrate in their classes. At the end of the third year of our support to WFP Cambodia's School Feeding programme, we look forward to continuing our support for Cambodian children and to exploring ways to help them become happier and healthier”, Lee adds.
NCSOFT also developed the Korean version of "FreeRice", WFP’s online educational game that allows its users to donate rice for free for every correct answer provided. Through this initiative, thousands of South Korean internet users are now players of Freerice and are donating rice grains to WFP Cambodia's School Feeding programme with just a click of their mouse.