ChildFinance: Changing an Ecosystem to Achieve Social Impact
The idea of ChildFinance – offering children access to, and the capability to use, safe financial products and services – emerged from Jeroo Billimoria (the social entrepreneur
leading the emerging “ChildFinance” initiative) early experiences working with poor families in rural India and with “street” children in her hometown, Mumbai. She found that, contrary to what one might expect, the poor did have money to save. However, these funds tended to flow very irregularly, and people lacked safe tools to manage the money.
Children’s access to finance and financial capability is extremely limited, and children bear this brunt in several ways. Most countries have a minimum age restriction to open and manage a savings account. For this reason, child-headed households, while a reality in many countries, are entirely banned from safe financial access. Research further shows that in most households where fathers manage the money (which, in developing countries, is most households), children receive the smallest proportion, and no notable financial training – seriously limiting their access to opportunities such as education, health care, and social activities.