Kids In Indiana Helping Feed Uganda

At Palwong elementary in northern Uganda, kids begin the school day dragging desks into tin-roofed, mud-brick classrooms. But no one is complaining - at least they are safe from a vicious and still-simmering civil war that forced their families into camps.

Eight thousand miles away, Grade 6 students in Bloomington, Ind., buckle down for another day, and although they don't know it, what they learn in class matters to the kids in Palwong, CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey reports.

The link is FreeRice.com, a vocabulary game in which every correct answer means 20 grains of rice is donated to the World Food Programme.

"If I get the answer wrong, it tells me what it means. Now my vocabulary is getting bigger," said one Bloomington sixth grader.

A click of the mouse in Indiana ... a click of a stick in Palwong.

It's all about words, and every handful of rice that goes into the pot for lunch at Palwong came from FreeRice. So far, the game has generated 28 billion grains of rice.

That's enough to feed more than a million people for one day.

Read more on Couric & Co. blog.
According to the World Food Programme, school meals boost enrollment and help keep children in class. But school feeding programs, including the one in Palwong, are under threat.

The school used to offer breakfast too, but rising food prices and a shortfall in aid money forced them to cut to lunch only…and for many of these kids, school is the only decent meal they get.

"If we do not have lunch, you go there at home you'll not find food at home, then you come here, and you start sleeping," said one Ugandan student.

There are no computers at the Uganda school. There isn't even electricity. And books are a luxury. But like kids everywhere, the minds are eager.

"I would like to be a teacher," one student said.

"I want to be a nurse," said another.

And another: "I like to study history, I like it best."

The kids who learn words on FreeRice can no more imagine where the rice goes than those who receive it can understand where it comes from.
  • Allen Pizzey

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