Jeroo Billimoria

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Jeroo Billimoria
Jeroo Billimoria at World Economic Forum.jpg
Born (1965-07-20) 20 July 1965 (age 50)
in Mumbai, India
Occupation Social entrepreneur
founder & managing director of Child and Youth Finance International
Founder of Aflatoun

Jeroo Billimoria (born 20 July 1965) is a pioneering social entrepreneur and the founder of several award-winning international NGOs. Her innovative approach to managing social ventures and bringing them to global scale has earned her fellowships with Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, the Skoll Foundation and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. Additionally, her work has been featured in Business Week,[1] The Economist[2][3] and several books.[4][5][6] Her most recent initiatives include Aflatoun (Child Savings International), Childline India Foundation and Child Helpline International. Currently, she serves as the founder and managing director of Child and Youth Finance International.


Jeroo Billimoria was born in Mumbai, India to an accountant and a social worker. Raised in a family strongly committed to social service, her father's early death caused her to dedicate herself to social causes.[7] Billimoria received a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Mumbai (formerly the University of Bombay) in 1986, an Social Work from India's Tata Institute of Social Sciences in 1988 and an M.S. in Non-Profit Management from the New School for Social Research University in New York in 1992. From 1991 to 1999, she was a professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

Social entrepreneurship[edit]

In 1989 Billimoria travelled for a six months before going back to Tata Institute of Social Sciences and there becoming an instructor. A number of her graduate students were placed as social workers in Bombay's shelters. When Billmoria visited them, she found herself drawn to the children. Out of compassion and concern, she started giving out her home number – to be used in case of an emergency, but soon she was receiving calls on a daily basis. As she became aware of the need for an organisation which could co-ordinate the multiple children's agencies in Bombay to efficiently and quickly contact and assist the children, she tried to persuade these services to work with each other. After several failed attempts and having found very little enthusiasm for the idea, she decided to drop her convincing labour.[8]

Instead in 1991, she founded an organisation called Meljol(Coming Together) to bring together children from diverse background to work, side by side, on projects with tangible social benefits. This organisation seeks to develop children's citizenship skills by focusing on their rights and responsibilities and providing them opportunities to contribute positively to their environment. 'Equal Rights, Opportunities and Respect for all,' forms the basis of Meljol's philosophy.[9]

By 1993 Billimoria was still receiving late night emergency calls. So she put together a budget and set out to raise start-up funds in hopes to start up a hot line for children to call anytime. These so-called "Childline's" telephones would be housed in organisations with twenty-four-hour shelters for emergencies.[10]

Finally, in 1996, Billimoria created Childline India Foundation, a 24-hour emergency telephone service for children, based on her work with children living on the streets of India. Eventually all phones available for public use could dial Childline toll free in order to help children find aid in places where an emergency shelter may not be located.[11] In June 1998, Childline held an event, inviting the government and other people from 29 different cities in India to help spread the Childline phone service. Anand Bordia, joint secretary of India's Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, had been in contact with Billimoria about expanding Childline across the country. Following the presentation, Bordia, along with A. P. Singh, deputy secretary of the Ministry of Justice and Social Empowerment, offered to help expand Childline to ten cities. A month later, Maneka Gandhi, India's minister of social justice and empowerment, talked to Billimoria, stating that Childline should be expanded further, offering service to children in all of India's largest cities (totaling more than 1 million in population).[12] In 2002, Childline had expanded to 43 cities in India, with 12 more soon to be added.[13]

At some point, Billimoria started reducing the amount of time she worked at Childline, watching to see how things went without her constant supervision. Confident that Childline was able to thrive without her, in May 2002, Billimoria stepped down from administration in order to pursue other endeavors.[14] To expand on the success in India, Billimoria founded Child Helpline International, an international network of emergency telephone service providers for children. To date this network has answered over 140 million calls across 133 countries.[6] By compiling information on the types of emergencies the children experienced, CHI is able to identify and communicate trends to governmental and non-governmental organisations,[6] allowing emergency assistance to be tailored to fit the specific demands of each community.

After compiling data through the helplines, it became clear that many of the distress calls could be traced to poverty. To address this concern, Billimoria created Aflatoun, a non-profit organisation focused on teaching children their economic rights and responsibilities as well as promoting basic financial management skills and habits. Today her organisation has reached 1.3 million children in 94 countries.[15]

In July 2011, Billimoria founded Child and Youth Finance International, a global network of states, financial entities and educational institutions dedicated to increasing the financial capabilities and financial inclusion of children and youth through collaboration and resource-sharing.[16]

Recognition and awards[edit]

Billimoria is a globally respected speaker and advocate of economic empowerment for children and her social and humanitarian work has reached the lives of millions of children around the world.[17] She has been a speaker at the World Economic Forum, the Skoll World Forum for Social Entrepreneurship and several international corporations and universities. Additional awards include:

  • CYFI listed among Global Journal's Top 100 NGOs and highlighted as "Most Promising New NGO" (2013)[18]
  • Aflatoun named to Global Journal's Top 100 NGOs (2012 and 2013)[19]
  • Innovators for the Public Fellowship awarded by Ashoka: Innovators for the Public[20]
  • Schwab Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurs[21]
  • 2012 Outstanding Social Entrepreneur[22]
  • Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship[23]
  • One of the Phoenix 50 for her work with Aflatoun[24]
  • Union of Arab Banks Award for her work with CYFI[25]

Organizations founded[edit]

Published works[edit]

  • Children & Change and Partners for Change (2009)
  • Twinkle Star (Std. I to Std. IV) value education textbooks.
  • Explorer Series (Std. V to Std. IV) value education textbooks.
  • CHILDLINE Across India series:
    • Listening to children: An overview to CHILDLINE
    • Laying the Foundation: Getting Started and Taking Off
    • CHILDLINE at my finger tips: A resource book
    • Spreading the word: CHILDLINE awareness strategies
    • Recording children's concerns: Documenting CHILDLINE
  • The National Initiative for Child Protection
  • Voices from the streets: Life stories of children who have called CHILDLINE


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "The Power of Unreasonable People," John Elkington and Pamela Hartigan, Harvard Business Press, 5 February 2008. Jeroo is profiled as a leading social entrepreneur.
  5. ^ "How to Change the World," David Bornstein, Oxford University Press, 2004. Chapter on Jeroo’s life and work with Childline India.
  6. ^ a b c "Rippling: How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Throughout the World," Beverly Schwartz, Jossey Bass, 2012.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Bornstain, David (2007). How to Change the World. Oxford University Press, Inc. 
  9. ^ "Meljol Website". Retrieved 2013. 
  10. ^ Bornstain, David (2007). How to Change the World. Oxford University Press, Inc. 
  11. ^ David Bornstein "How to Change the World" (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 82
  12. ^ David Bornstein "How to Change the World" (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 83-84
  13. ^ David Bornstein "How to Change the World" (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 90
  14. ^ David Bornstein "How to Change the World" (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 90
  15. ^
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  20. ^ Ashoka Fellows
  21. ^ Schwab Social Entrepreneurs
  22. ^
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  24. ^
  25. ^

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