Slumdog Trust Has Child-Sale Crisis Under Control, Thank You Very Much
Last week, after first spotting reports of the ongoing drama surrounding young Slumdog Millionaire star/would-be eBay commodity Rubina Ali, Movieline reached out with a few questions for the administrators of the Jai Ho Trust. The fund was established with the assistance of director Danny Boyle and producer Christian Colson to help (in part) oversee the welfare of the Slumdog kids, and it seemed reasonable to inquire how that was going -- especially after Rubina's father told the Indian press that the trust hadn't upheld its promises of education, housing and other support for the girl and her other co-stars in need.
We never heard back. The next thing everyone knows, Rubina is 15% off if you sign up today for a Slumdog Rewards card. And guess who suddenly issued a statement?
From its offices in Mumbai, here's Jai Ho's response:
The Jai Ho Trust was established with financial support from the filmmakers of Slumdog Millionaire to support the welfare of child stars of the film. The trust is in regular contact with Rubina Ali and her family and has hired a social worker to assist in looking after her welfare and that of her co-star [Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail].
The Trust will support Rubina, her parents and responsible authorities, to ensure that the rights and best interests of Rubina are protected.
1.) The family will be provided with suitable accommodation;
2.) The family will be provided with a fixed sum of money every month towards their living costs;
3.) Education costs for Rubina, Azharuddin and their siblings will be provided for by the Trust;
4.) A lump sum will be built up for each of the children which will be available to them for tertiary education or business development after they turn 18 years old and at the discretion of the trustees.
5.) A trained social worker will be hired by the Trust to periodically counsel the children and the family.
The Jai Ho Trust requests the media consider the possible negative impacts of the recent media scrutiny on 9-year-old Rubina, and assist in protecting her interests through sensitive reporting to limit further unnecessary exploitation of her rights and interests.
In other words: Thank you for sensitive saturation coverage of Rubina and Co. in the lead-up to the Oscars, and on Oscar night in particular. The producers of Slumdog Millionaire couldn't have done it without you. Now, though, we're quite done with you, and we can handle the rest from here. Except when we can't. Please do not exploit Rubina Ali, especially on the occasion that her father is allegedly caught in a sting operation attempting to sell her. That's insensitive. Thank you.
No, Jai Ho. Thank you.