(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times)
They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch but whoever “they” are (in this case, perhaps people who own expensive restaurants), “they” may very well be wrong.
If you have ever felt a twinge of guilt for spending too much time online, you can now do something constructive with that time by increasing your vocabulary while disproving the free lunch rule at the same time. FreeRice serves up multiple choice definitions to the meaning of a word and each time a surfer selects the correct answer, 10 grains of rice are donated to the United Nations World Food Programme.
Using advertising revenues to underwrite the scheme, FreeRice has become a huge hit. On October 7, its first day on the net, just 830 grains of rice were donated. However, a month later the daily total hit 77 million grains.
Take the time to visit this site: it’s the perfect illustration of how doing something good for others can be so rewarding. Besides, word geeks will find the game addictive.
Another site that offers surfers the chance to make a difference is Kiva, a non-profit organisation that allows people to lend money to small businesses in developing countries.
These are micro loans, amounts that may seem reasonably insignificant to most of us but they are life-changing amounts of money to those struggling in developing nations.
You get to select which business you want to help out and if you like, you can be kept up-to-date with how the business is doing via e-mail updates for the duration of the loan.
Most loans are paid back within a year.