Online game that helps UN fight hunger launches Chinese version

26 October 2011 – Freerice.com, the online game that allows players to improve their vocabulary while fighting world hunger by making donations to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), launched its Chinese-language version today.

Chinese speakers seeking to improve their English and general knowledge can now test their vocabulary and expertise in the worlds of art, chemistry and geography, while helping to feed hungry children around the world, by logging on to Freerice China – which was launched by WFP and its partner, the Chinese game company Shanda Games.

“Freerice has been a global phenomenon in English, French, Italian and Spanish and is now reaching a critical and influential part of the global population,” said Nancy Roman, the WFP Director of Communications, Public Policy and Private Partnerships.

“China has more Internet users than any other country in the world – they are curious, ambitious and looking for ways to improve their mastery of English.”

Shanda Games is no stranger to the fight against hunger. It also helped WFP develop a Chinese version of its award-winning computer game Food Force in 2006.

On Freerice.com, players face increasingly difficult vocabulary questions and for every correct answer, they earn 10 grains of rice, which is donated to WFP and paid for by advertisers on the site. The website is also an innovative social media tool, giving players the ability to create online groups with their relatives, friends and co-workers.

Originally launched in English in 2007, the online game had within a month raised enough rice to feed over 50,000 people for a day. According to its designer, John Breen, the programme started out as a simple word game to help his teenage sons prepare for their college entrance exams.

The game attracts 1.3 million players per month and has raised almost 100 billion grains of rice, enough to feed 4.8 million people for a day in countries in need of food aid.


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