Slumdog - Better Choices Through Education

It is interesting to know that the children from Slumdog Millionaire have had  similar real life circumstances as the roles they played. Many people say the movie is uplifting. That in spite of all the trials and tribulations Jamal undergoes, the movie ends happily for him. But it is a movie… and the end is sugar coated.  My friend put it very well: “Everything bad that happens to him is because people do bad things to him. But everything good that happens to him is by accident”. In other words everything is against him; he only escapes his difficult childhood because ‘it is written’.This implies that the message of the movie is that you have to be lucky to aspire for a different life than the one you are born into. If one accepts such a message, then one accepts status quo when it comes to the disadvantaged and underprivileged people in the world today.  There are millions of people are being exploited, but there are always people who will escape their circumstances through sheer luck. I volunteer for Asha for Education because I am not happy with the small number who escape through sheer luck - Asha wants everyone, or as many children as possible, to have opportunities to improve themselves.  As the movie progressed, I thought of the millions of children in similar circumstances who are not going to win the million dollars. Many have complained that the movie focused only on the negative side of India, and some wonder whether all that indeed happens in India. But seeing this first hand and seeing reports from other Asha volunteers, we know that nothing in the movie is inaccurate.

  • We work with organizations that fight the powerful channels that supply young girls to men.
  • We work with organizations that are fighting the begging mafia.
  • We work with organizations that deal with the aftermath of riots and work towards preventing more riots.

We know all that happens in the movie happens to children, day after day. But we also know that one kid winning a million dollars is not a solution in any shape or form.I think the movie brings light to the problems it portrays, yet it leaves viewers with a feeling of “What about all the other millions of childrens in the slums?” I wonder how many people run out of the movie theater wanting to do something?It is of course the film-maker’s choice. He is not making a documentary. But feel-good movies in general are not so starkly realistic when they portray the difficulties of the hero. The hero typically undergoes some difficulties and then something nice happens to him and the movie ends happily. Even if the difficulties are realistic, they are not the difficulties of a multitude of people. They are the difficulties of one hero and a few like him and he gets past them and lives happily ever after.The fact that this movie was so realistic in its portrayal of the difficulties, and then becomes “too perfect” in portraying how the hero’s life changes for the better.In any case, I hope Asha Chapters who are screening the movie for awareness are following up with discussions that highlight the fact that we are working with project partners who are addressing the basic issues and not just training people to win a million dollars. 

Slumdog Millionaire Kids from an Asha for Eduction Project

Have you seen Slumdog Millionaire?  Two of the children (Salim and Latika) are students in the Asha for Education funded project called Aseema.   They have acted really well and are enjoying all the attention they are getting!Aseema video to one of the projects we’re helping with: more information, visit the project webpage or the Aseema Site Visit Report, March 2007.

How Micro-loans Make a Difference

This video follows the path of a $25 loan from London, England to Preak Tamao village, Cambodia. is a website that allows internet users like you or I to lend money to people that need it in developing countries, with the aim of empowering them to lift themselves out of poverty. A Fistful Of Dollars: The Story of a Loan from Kieran Ball.

Holiday Giving | Charity Resources

Charity NavigatorWith the economic recession, wallets are tighter than ever. This makes it more difficult for people to donate to charities. For the charities themselves, a recession is often the worst situation to be in because more people need help during the recession while less people are giving to support the organization.

Here are some tips on donating this holiday season.

1) Give to charities that help the less fortunate.

2) Give to charities where the CEO is not overly compensated.

3) Give to organizations where the funds are not used up in administration.
- Great “Slam Dunk” Charities
- High Administrative Cost Charities to Stay Away From

4) Save time and costs by donating online.

5) Remember that in these difficult times, charities are having a difficult time too. So every dollar goes a long way.

For more information on donating time or money to a charity - check out these great sites on charities:
- Charity Navigator
- Network for Good
- Volunteer Match

Tips on E-tailing Survival

Online holiday shopping is in full swing. As an Ecommerce site owner, you’ve pondered these questions and adjusted your business plans:

  • How will the current economic crisis affect sales and the future of your e-commerce business?

  • What can you do to survive the recession?

  • Will business profits in December carry through the slower months of January and February?

Some e-tailers used free-shipping offers, e-coupons and deeper discounts to get shoppers to buy on Cyber Monday. Others pitched Black Friday to get a head start. Did these plans work?

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