Secret Slumdog Millionaire: Giv£ To The Ghetto

January 16, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

4Slumdogtastic300SECRET SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE: Sunday 17th January, Channel 4, 9pm ALERT ME

Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire goes to India this week to see what poverty is really like in Mumbai.

Seema Sharma owns a string of successful dental practices and lives in a posh upper middle class part of London. She’s about as British as you can possibly get. Wanting to get in touch with her Indian roots, she ships off to Dharavi, one of the poorest slum districts in Mumbai.

Hang on a minute. Wasn’t Kevin McCloud there just the other day? Dharavi’s in danger of being a bit a tourist trap. Thomas Cook is going to start offering discount flights there any day.

Flippancy aside, it really is a terrible place. A third of people live below the poverty line, children and adults alike are reduced to rummaging in a giant rubbish tips for bits of plastic and 70% of the children there have a skin or lung disease.

It’s a problem that’s so widespread in Mumbai that it’s actually hard to get your head around. Poverty is so ubiquitous and the distribution of wealth so uneven that it’s hard to see how anyone can even make a dent in this omnipresent horror. It’s something that Seema realises too – she’s shocked and ashamed that she didn’t realise these kind of conditions existed when she visited before.

Seema stumbles across a charity organisation dedicated to providing the children of the area with food and shelter and health checks. The work of these people is inspiring and includes Annabelle, an elderly lady who’s lived and work in these poor districts for over 40 years. It’s also genuinely heartbreaking to see children living in such abject squalor and doubly so that they don’t even realise what they’re missing out on.

She also visits a mobile school, dedicated to bringing education to children if they can’t come to them. Watching deprived children learning is bound to give anyone a warm, fuzzy glow – they’re sponges for information and actually value the education they’re getting.

It would be easy to criticise The Secret Millionaire for being self serving – aren’t these people buying a feel good factor? Maybe so but does that really matter when the recipients deserve the money? Of course not.

It’d be nice if there was some follow up to find out what happened to the people she gave money to but I’m sure that’s all destined for a Secret Millionaire special in the future.

Maeve says:

I am watching this programme at the moment and have just read the previous posts. I am interested in starting something with you Mrs Sayles as change starts with individuals. Let’s get in touch with each other and see what we can begin.
I look forward to speaking with you, Maaeve

mrs sayles says:

so very sorry about my spelling on the previous message, i have been very upset by the programme and have tears in my eyes.
Thank you.
Mrs Sayles

mrs sayles says:

I thought that the programme was fantastic, these people so need desperate money and well deserved, such a pity that there isn’t a so called government to help these poor peaple out. The thing is it is very plainly obviously correct that these beautiful people need lots and lots of help, and they are not idle like lots of people that live in this country, from a young age also from a long time ago around 25-30 years and more these poor people have worked so very hard to earn so little and not even able to feed and clothe their children, i haven’t got any money at all and have 2 beautiful boys, we don’t have much but are probebly livin g like millionaires compared to these poor poor families.
I am and will try to get some sort of charity going don’t know how yet but will keep on trying if anyone knows how to set up either donation or clothing especially for the children charities specifically for the people that live in the slums and surrounding areas please place a comment or forwaed a e-mail address, the very sad thing is that i have sacks of old and unwanted young childrens clothing even vests ,pants extreamly spottless thatr is doing nothing and these poor children are naked on thr street, if their were other people that have bags of clothing like this and they were all se nt specifically to these slums, it would be a great start.please try to help these very very poor peaple.
Thank you.
Mrs Sayles

a great program mrs sharma actually got in and helped How many people with comfortable lifestyles never get off their bottoms If there were a method of donating a small amount of money monthly Ishould be gratful