Including kids in inclusive finance
February 17, 2012
India’s street children are inherently entrepreneurial. That was one of the key realizations that Jeroo Billimoria took away from her earlier initiative Child Helpline India; the other was that the financial disempowerment of children was a major cause of social ills. “After more than 150 million phone calls I realized that the main reason children call are abuse-related reasons,” she says. At the root of the abuse: quite often, the need for money. Thus the idea for CYFI was born. According to its website, ‘inability to manage financial resources is what drives individuals deeper into poverty. It opens them up to financial exploitation and vulnerability.’
To reverse that trend, CYFI is active on two fronts: the organization advocates for children’s financial education, working with the ministry of education, UNICEF and other international agencies to put children’s financial literacy on the agenda. “That means a real child in school learns about geography or chemistry, and they also learn about money,” she says.
Armed with financial education, each child who graduates from primary school should have access to financial stability through managing their own bank account, says Jeroo Billimoria. Sadly less than one percent of the world’s children have this access. “That’s what we want to change,” she says. “Because if we can do that, then a billion children…a billion people...are becoming financially inclusive,” she says. “That’s our main vision.”
This video interview was recorded in Amsterdam on 23 December 2011 at Duisenberg school of finance.
Low-res video (mp4)
Audio transcript (mp3)
Child and Youth Finance International