Jeroo Billimoria is leading a child finance movement that empowers children both socially and financially. Built on the work of her organization Aflatoun, which educates children aged 6-14 on financial literacy, the ChildFinance program creates access to financial products and services for millions of children. Jeroo believes that providing youth with basic knowledge about responsible decision-making combined with hands-on experience will transform the way an entire generation perceives, accesses, and handles money. These values will carry over into their adult lives and eventually break the prevailing cycle of poverty and social inequalities. Aflatoun gives children an active role in the learning process through school wide savings clubs and group activities within the community. Its success across continents is due to the program’s ability to adapt to diverse local settings. Since its launch in 2005 as a ten-country pilot network based out of Amsterdam, Aflatoun has expanded its work through partnerships into 31 countries, reaching over 540,000 children. National implementation is now beginning in Egypt, with similar plans for Brazil, Uganda, Kenya, and Ghana.
Within the next ten years, Jeroo plans to bring ChildFinance to 100 nations, using the support of Aflatoun’s educational framework and linking it with access to financial products and services. She envisions banking reform across continents that will allow children to have safe savings accounts and insurance and empower them to use technology for increased financial opportunities. To scale this movement, Jeroo will build a global network of partners from the social, corporate, financial and governmental sectors, who will ensure that projects meet their local needs. Currently, Aflatoun is supported by the Dutch government and the Skoll Foundation, yet, to ensure future funding, she plans to approach governments and foundations who are genuinely interested in the ChildFinance idea. With the growth of the child finance network, Jeroo is engaging children as agents of economic and social change, allowing them to partake in positively shaping their own future.