Drawing inspiration from her mother's school social work, Jeroo Billimoria started early by setting up a help line for children in distress, risk or those that needed counseling. From just eight child volunteers answering a total of 848 calls in the first year, Child Helpline International has grown to handle more than two million calls a year, and serves over 153 countries.
In a similar vein, her most recent venture, Aflatoun, was born to fulfill the lack of basic financial literacy in rural children. In the initial years of Aflatoun, the major detriment to growth was the skepticism from the nonprofit sector over the importance of financial education. The naysayers believed that children did not need to know about money matters, and that her cause was a wasted one. Billimoria knew better. Leveraging her vast experience in pioneering social enterprises, she chose the most difficult countries and piloted her venture. After a staggering success in 11 nations, Aflatoun is set to cover more than one million children via a campaign run in over 75 countries by the year 2010.
Jeroo Billimoria is the founder of Child Savings International, now called Aflatoun, a global nonprofit organization that provides social and financial education to children, and of Childline India, a 24-hour emergency telephone service for India's street children, providing access to police assistance and health care. Trained as a social worker, she established several nonprofits in India to serve the needs of street children before starting Childline India in 1995. Since then Childline has responded to over 8 million calls for assistance.
In 2004, Billimoria became the Executive Director of Child Helpline International (CHI), which acts as a helpdesk for existing child help lines in countries all around the world, and provides child helpline services in impoverished countries where this type of resource doesn't exist. CHI now works in 150 countries. For her tireless social entrepreneur work, she has received recognition from Ashoka, and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. She’s also been awarded the Skoll Foundation For Social Entrepreneurship Award, which includes a major financial grant.
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