The global success of Slumdog Millionaire has had a real-life impact, with a surge in enquiries sponsoring Indian children, it has been revealed.

According to ActionAid, the Oscar-winning film's portrayal of poverty in the slums of Mumbai has provoked an unprecedented increase in enquiries about helping some of India's poorest youngsters.

"We're calling it the slumdog effect," said the charity's fundraising director Richard Turner.

"We haven't seen such a high level of interest in one country for a long time."

Danny Boyle's film tells of the incredible journey of a boy from the Mumbai slums to finding himself on the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and one question away from winning 20 million rupees.

It was announced this week that Rubina Ali and Azharuddin Ismail, two of the young stars of the best picture winner, are to be rehoused and moved from their dilapidated housing, having "made the nation proud".

But the movie has also helped the lives of real life slumdogs, with ActionAid receiving some 1,400 enquiries about child sponsorship in the week after the film won seven Baftas, up from its weekly average of 500 calls.

Richard Turner commented: "Child sponsorship has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of children and is one of the most rewarding ways of giving.

"Sponsors' money helps towards securing a decent education, better health care and economic security for children and the communities in which they live."

ActionAid also has over 4,500 children awaiting sponsorship in Afghanistan, Brazil and Haiti and in many countries across Africa. To sponsor a child go to or phone 01460 23 8000.

27/02/2009 14:51:42