There’s not much new you can say about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge™ but the viral fad continues. People are still producing amusing videos, celebrities are still doing it, money and awareness are being raised, and all across the globe, Ice Bucket Challenge facebook pages are popping up to collect videos of “fans” of the challenge and to pass it on. There are pages for Brazil, Thailand, Mongolia, Albania, the Phillippines, Cambodia, and India, just to name a few places far from the experiences of the average American ice bucket dumper.
Many of these are countries that rely on foreign aid to sustain their national healthcare programs and where embarrassingly large numbers of their population live without access to clean water. But they’ve all got the internet, and they love American celebrities. A handful of pages mention what ALS is, but most don’t bother. In some cases, the Ice Bucket Challenge has been adopted to raise awareness for regional issues, with the help of an easy to pull off, hashtaggable stunt that pushes some magical, universal glee button we all seem to have in our brains when we see cold water get dumped on someone’s head.
In Cambodia, one group is doing the challenge to raise funds for the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital. In India, journalist Manju Latha Kalanidihi began the Rice Bucket Challenge, a movement to help feed people and raise awareness about ways to alleviate the challenges of poverty across India. Bollywood celebrities are catching on to it and the movement is gaining traction and challenging people to think about how simple it can be to help their less fortunate neighbors just beyond their gated communities.
China refuses to be left out of the global phenomenon, but China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs is warning the public not to get caught up in the glitz and glam of it all. Residents and officials in Henan Province are asking people to refrain from taking up the challenge, as they continue to struggle against drought and face difficulties finding drinking water.
There are troubling issues lingering around the wildfire spread of the Ice Bucket Challenge for other movements. Donations to the ALS Association help fund animal testing. Californians, some of them anyhow, are concerned about how it trivializes the threat of drought. Those looking at the bigger picture have tried to remind people about the challenges to healthcare and medical research funding in the US.
More than 5 million USD for the ALS Association was raised in less than one month when the challenge began, and they’ve now passed the 23 million dollar mark with reports of more than 70 million USD being raised for ALS around the world.
Personally, I don’t think anyone is going to top the girl who bled out of her mouth while she took up the challenge in a drug induced stupor, but keep at it, folks.