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British film director Danny Boyle is helping the children who featured in his new movie Slumdog Millionaire work their way out of poverty.

The movie – about a young man from the slums of Mumbai who appears on a game show and exceeds people’s expectations, raising the suspicions of the game show host and law enforcement – was filmed in India, with many of the young actors cast locally.

However, Boyle was horrified to learn about the terrible living conditions of the actors, and has set up trust funds for them for when they finish school to encourage them to continue their studies.

“Rabina [Ali, who plays a young Latika] and Azza [Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, who plays a young Salim] were from very poor backgrounds,” said Boyle, who also directed 28 Days Later and Trainspotting. “One night we heard a rumor that Azza’s house had been demolished. Their house had been cleared; he lives in a slum and occasionally the council just bulldozes them. We sent people to try to find him, and they found him asleep on a car rooftop.”

Boyle is also setting up funds to help the youngsters finish their schooling.

“They’re learning English, and they sent me birthday cards. I started weeping when I opened them.”

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