Online brainteaser helps send rice to Pakistan

Wed Sep 8, 2010 8:25am EDT
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ROME (Reuters Life!) -Help for millions affected by the recent floods in Pakistan may be coming from an unusual source: an online vocabulary game that feeds the hungry., which draws an average of 40,000 players a day, challenges competitors to guess the correct meaning of a word from four options and rewards them with rice that goes to help people driven from their homes in Pakistan.

Starting easy and getting harder - moving from 'angry' to "arundinaceous' -- every correct answer sees 10 grains of rice donated through the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) and paid for by advertisers.

"It's a stellar example of how a fun and simple idea can harness the power of the internet's potential to contribute to the world's most pressing global issue - hunger," said Nancy Roman, WFP's Director of Communications.

Launched in 2007, the online brain-teaser has already raised enough rice to feed more than 4.2 million people for a day in countries like Uganda and Bangladesh, and is now trying to help victims of the torrential monsoon rains in Pakistan.

The site's latest campaign coincides with the launch of a new version of Free Rice (2.0) that aims to mix game play with social media such as Facebook and Twitter in an attempt to drive up its popularity and attract new players.

(Reporting by Ella Ide, editing by Paul Casciato)

<p>A Pakistani woman, a flood victim, walks in a relief camp in Charsadda, Pakistan's northwest Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, September 8, 2010. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl</p>