Narrator: It’s a long way from a classroom in Rome, Italy to a refugee camp on the Burmese-Bangladesh border, but thanks to award-winning online vocab game named Free Rice, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and many of the world’s poorest countries are just a click away from the people of Rome’s Ambrit International School. Each time a FreeRice player clicks on the rice correct word, twenty grains of rice are donated to the World Food Programme to combat world hunger. That might not sound like much, but since its October launch 2007, 20 million people have been clicking on the game every day.
Michiru Kahio: “You’re improving yourself and you’re donating to help the people who are poor and who can’t eat, so I think it’s a really good game.”
Narrator: To date, they’ve raised enough rice to feed 700,000 people, including 27,000 refugees from Myanmar sheltering in Bangladesh. WFP’s efforts to feed refugees, sheltering at two camps near Cox’s Bazaar in Southeast Bangladesh, was among the first operations to receive food rations thanks to FreeRice.
Lindy Hogan: “It’s just an amazing concept that somebody thousands of miles away can be at their computer at home in America or in Europe, a click of their mouse means that rice ends up here on the ground in Bangladesh and it means that these people here, who are a pretty much forgotten population, because of this, can eat today and can have this rice for breakfast lunch and dinner.”
Narrator: Uganda and Cambodia will be the next to benefit. US Compute Programmer John Breen who has long worked to reduce global poverty, is the brains behind FreeRice.
John Breen: If you’re given a choice of 4 vocabulary definitions for a word, if you choose the correct definition, then we give 20 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Programme, who donates them to different countries around the world.
Narrator: In less than three months, Breen has already sent checks worth $213,000.
John Breen: Each day, there are 25,000 people who die of hunger, so every grain of rice is critically important
Narrator: “If this mother accepts the rice she will put on the table for her children this evening, she could be forgiven about not worrying where her next meal came from. But thanks to FreeRice, millions of people from Thailand and America to India and Italy do care. And with the click of a mouse, they can do something about it.