‘Slumdog Millionaire’ highlights impending global crisis: NGO

February 25th, 2009 - 1:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Slumdog MillionaireToronto, Feb 25 (IANS) A Canadian NGO working in the slums of India Tuesday hailed multiple Oscars for “Slumdog Millionaire’ as the film has highlighted the hard life of people in urban slums the world over.

Criticising of those who have slammed the film for “glamorizing poverty”, the organization said “Slumdog Millionaire” has put the hard truth about urban slums before world audiences.

“Although ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is set in India, similar living conditions can be found in most countries,” said Pat Ferguson, president of Operation Eyesight which funds projects in Mumbai and other Indian cities.

“Almost a billion people live in squalid slums scattered across the

globe, and it’s a growing problem.

“The UN predicts the number of slum dwellers will double to two billion by 2030 if no action is taken,” she said.

Hailing the work of its Indian partner Gopa Kothari, who has transformed the lives of people like Jamal - the hero of Slumdog Millionaire - during the last two decades, Ferguson said, “She (Kothari) knows it would be a Herculean task to completely eliminate the slums, so she focuses instead on improving health, basic infrastructure and quality of life for the people who live there.”

Beginning her work after an epidemic of childhood blindness in the slums of Mumbai in 1981, Kothari has transformed thousands of lives by imparting education in

modern child rearing, sanitation and nutrition, basic literacy and running small businesses to slum dwellers.

“Dr Kothari empowers the community by training volunteers from within

the slum. Wherever her programme is implemented, malnutrition, disease and infant mortality drop dramatically,” Ferguson said.

She said every project started by them “is still up and running on a self-sustaining basis. A one-time investment of about $150,000 can make lasting change for a community of about 20,000

people.”

Saluting the Indian woman, she said though Kothari has been offered positions in prestigious institutions, she has chosen to continue her work in the slums.

– Indo-Asian News Service

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