Bilaal Rajan

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Bilaal Rajan
UNICEF Ambassador Bilaal Rajan, Toronto.jpeg
Born (1996-09-07) September 7, 1996 (age 20)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Residence Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada

Bilaal Rajan (born September 7, 1996 in Toronto, Ontario) is a fundraiser, motivational speaker, author, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Canada's child ambassador,[1] and founder of the Making Change Now organization.[2]

Rajan began fundraising when he was four years old, selling clementines door-to-door in his neighborhood to raise C$350 in funds for the victims of the earthquakes in the Gujarat province of India in 2001.[3] He later sold handmade plastic plates to raise $1,200 for HIV/Aids orphans, sold cookie boxes to raise over $6,000 for the affected people and children of Hurricane-devastated Haiti, raised $50,000 for the victims of the tsunami in south-east Asia,[4] and more than $50,000 for the World Partnership Walk.

In 2004, Rajan launched the Canada Kids Earthquake Challenge for UNICEF, raising the total funds for tsunami relief to around $1.8 million.[5][6] To date, he has helped raise over $5 million for various causes, and since March 2005 is an official ambassador for UNICEF.[2]

Rajan visited Tanzania in July 2007 to bring awareness and education of HIV/AIDS to their communities. As a participant of Governor General Michaëlle Jean's Order of Canada Mentorship Program,[7] he visited Ecuador in August 2008 to help build a primary school. Two months later, Rajan published Making Change: Tips from an Underage Overachiever.[8]

In April 2009, Rajan established the Barefoot Challenge,[9] an annual event where he lives life without shoes to raise awareness about child poverty in the developing world. Thousands of young people from more than 25 countries around the world have kicked off their shoes to better understand the struggles faced by underprivileged children everywhere.[10]

In July 2009, Rajan met personally with Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa[11] to discuss several of his upcoming youth initiatives. He also spoke to students at several schools in South Africa. Film makers produced a documentary about his journey called My Name is Bilaal.

In August 2009, Rajan traveled to New York and was featured in a CNN story about his fundraising work and raising money for children in the developing world.[12]

In 2009, Rajan also took part in Students on Ice, a two-week scientific expedition to the Arctic and Antarctic. He returned to Toronto and launched a letter-writing campaign to elected officials to pass tough environmental protection legislation,[13] and also performed presentations at dozens of grade and high schools throughout Canada on the subject.

He is a recipient of more than twenty awards, including the 2008 Top 20 Under 20 Award,[14] the 2009 Huggable Hero Award,[15] the 2009 Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship,[16] the 2010 Kids to Kids National Service Award [17] and the 2010 Changing Our World/Simms Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy.[18]

Rajan has also co-developed the online charitable gaming website SudokuHub,[19] where visitors play Sudoku to raise funds for food for children in developing countries.

In 2011, Rajan spoke at TEDx Toronto on the theme of redefining philanthropy.[20]

Rajan attended Lakefield College School near Peterborough, Ontario, and he is currently a student at Stanford University.


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b About Bilaal. Retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  3. ^ "Meet Some Inspirational Kids". Retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  4. ^ Ruiz, Tani (March 21, 2003). "Bilaal Rajan: UNICEF's youngest fundraiser and advocate". Retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  5. ^ (June 2005). UNICEF Annual Report 2004 (PDF), p. 5. ISBN 92-806-3893-9. Retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  6. ^ "Bilaal Rajan, UNICEF Canada Child Representative" (PDF). Retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  7. ^ [1]. Retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  8. ^ Welcome. Retrieved on October 20, 2008.
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  11. ^ "[2]". Retrieved on October 20, 2009.
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  14. ^ Winner Bios (PDF), p. 5. Retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  15. ^ "Twelve Young Leaders Named 2009 Huggable Heroes in Build-A-Bear Workshop Community Service Program. Retrieved on October 20, 2009.
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