NRI sponsors Rubina

Moved by media reports that Slumdog Millionaire’s child actor Rubina was allegedly being sold off to a sheikh from Saudi Arabia for an exorbitant amount, an NRI businessman has stepped in to help her shape her own future. And what better way than through education!

A R Vanoo from Doha, Qatar, says he is willing to fund Rubina’s schooling in any part of the world, upto a master’s degree or even a doctorate, if she wishes to pursue her studies. With money clearly not an issue, the wellwisher is even open to her studying at an IB (International Baccalaureate) school, known to charge steep fees.

Vanoo visited Rubina’s home on Tuesday morning, and met her father and relatives. He spent around an hour with them over a cup of coffee. He held a detailed discussion to understand the requirements of the family before committing himself. “I have not seen Slumdog Millionaire, but know it’s won several Oscars. Three days ago, when I watched television reports about Rubina’s father allegedly trying to sell her off, it disturbed me deeply. I have a young daughter, and I could not watch her suffer so much.”

Though Vanoo was born and brought up at Vakola in Santacruz, which isn’t far from Bandra’s Garib Nagar where Rubina lives, he said he had never visited the area before. It was about 25 years ago that Vanoo shifted to the Gulf in search of a job, before deciding to settle there. He runs a successful business in petrochemicals, oil and gas exports and visits Mumbai often on business trips.

With a father, who Vanoo says was a freedom fighter, he has been closely working with NGOs for several years. He is an advisor to Anjuman-Ittehad-Ul-Mushtaqeem, an NGO that that works to educate people in rural areas. It is through this NGO that Vanoo will give money for Rubina’s education.

“Vanoo is an MBA graduate and has a degree in Mechanical Engineering and contributes to several NGOs but never really interacts directly with the people he helps. He, however, made an exception with Rubina,” said Kamal Mandlekar, president of the NGO.

He added that Vanoo did not want to set aside a fixed amount for the girl. “He doesn’t want to limit himself. He’s decided to open a joint account in the name of Rubina and our NGO. The money will be used to pay for her education, uniforms and other schoolrelated requirements.”

Last week, there had been media reports about a sting operation carried out by a British newspaper, News of the World, which claimed Rubina’s father had tried to extract money from a sheikh who had sought to adopt her. Rubina’s father had denied the claims. But Mandlekar preferred to stay away from the controversy. “We do not want to get involved in the case. We only want to help a bright girl shape her future,” he said.