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'Slumdog' Filmmakers Set Up Children's Aid in India

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Apr 16, 2009 | 6:38am EDT

British director Danny Boyle and the producers of his Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire have donated $745,000 to kick-start a program aimed at providing healthcare and education to children in India.

The filmmakers have teamed up with Plan, an international kids' development organization, to create the five-year program, which they hope will change the lives of children living in poverty.

Boyle shot Slumdog Millionaire, about a poor young man who wins India's version of TV game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, in some of the country's poorest areas -- and he is grateful to have been given such a warm reception during filming.

He says, "Having benefited so much from the hospitality of the people of Mumbai, it is only right that some of the success of the movie be ploughed back into the city in areas where it is needed most and where it can make a real difference to some lives."

Plan U.K.'s chief executive, Marie Staunton, adds, "Slumdog Millionaire has shown audiences around the world a snapshot of what life is like for one in six people on the planet.

"Education really is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty, so we will focus the funds on getting children into school, keeping them there and ensuring they are healthy."

It's not the only investment Boyle has made in the country's youth -- he set up the Jai Ho Trust last year to ensure Slumdog Millionaire's two young stars Rubiana Ali and Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, who played Latika and Salim in the early scenes of the film, would be provided for financially after plucking them from obscurity to act in his film.

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