I loved “Slumdog Millionaire,” the Oscar-winning movie that has knocked “Gone with the Wind” down a few notches on my list of all-time favorites. Yet, months after seeing the movie, I am still distraught by the images I saw. Children, orphaned and abandoned, struggling alone in the streets, are taken advantage of in tragic ways by despicable adults. Squalor is common, school is rare.
This is not just a Hollywood movie making things up for dramatic effect – these conditions are real, so real in fact that two of the movie’s young stars are from the slums themselves. But, thanks to the success of “Slumdog Millionaire,” many Indian charities have seen an increase in charitable donations.
Charitable organizations that work to improve life for destitute children in India are reporting an increase in inquiries and contributions, and they cite “Slumdog Millionaire” as the reason. Pretty impressive that a movie can actually make this kind of a difference, huh? Some of the organizations that aid poverty-stricken children in India, according to CAF America, are, Save the Children India, SOS Children’s Villages of India, and Railway Children.
Part of the well-known International Save the Children Alliance, Save the Children India is a fierce advocate for children’s rights. They work to prevent child trafficking and childhood labor (nearly 44 million Indian children are working when they should be going to school). They are helping to improve access to health care, vaccinations, education, and food.
Railway Children is an organization that helps to reach out and protect tens of thousands of children who are either abandoned or run away from abusive conditions. Though UNICEF estimates that there are 11 million street children in India, Railway Children believes this number is actually much higher. To help combat the problem, Railway Children is currently training a network of people at transportation terminals across India to know how to identify and assist a street child before a drug dealer or child trafficker can seduce them. Once identified, Railway Children provides access to education, food, shelter, and ever-important psychological support.
Finally, SOS Children’s Villages of India, aims to educate families about the dangers of social neglect so that every child can remain with his or her true family. The organization has built schools to enable more children to get access to education, and it also provides emergency relief.
Thankfully, these organizations exist and are working hard to see that children born in India are granted the right to food, shelter, school, and freedom from abuse and neglect. But, with more than 11 million children living on the streets, these organizations alone can’t reach everyone. Suffice it to say that if you saw “Slumdog Millionaire,” then you saw what life is like for these innocent children. Making a donation to these organizations is definitely making a difference in the life of a child living in a slum somewhere in India.
And, if you didn’t see "Slumdog Millionaire" yet, I would make every effort to see it. It not only will open your eyes, but it will also open your hearts.
You can also check out a review of "Slumdog Millionaire"at the BellaOnline Drama Movies Site.
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