Jeroo Billimoria

HOW DID YOU IDENTIFY YOUR PASSION AND THE WORK THAT SATISFIED YOU VERSUS WORK THAT JUST PAID THE BILLS?

My passion and my work are one in the same. The small changes I tried to make as a teenager and young adult have paved the way as a social entrepreneur. The quote “little drops of water make the mighty ocean” is a guiding principle in my work. I started my organizations because I believe every one of us can do something to change the world and this was my bit. I love what I do, I have always loved what I do, and I think that’s the most important driving passion.

FOR YOU PERSONALLY, WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FEMINISM AND EMPOWERMENT?

A feminist is empowered. That’s one and the same. But I think it is important to remember that feminism is more than women putting women in charge. Feminism is about men and women standing up for equal rights for men and women. No gender is better, stronger or more valued than the other. We should learn to better celebrate our diverse backgrounds, genders and races and, by default, we will be empowered.  

WHO WILL ETERNALLY BE A WOMAN YOU ADMIRE AND RESPECT, AND WHY?

My mom. She’s powerful; she has done everything she wanted to do in her life, and has always been there for everyone.

IN LIGHT OF YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF OUR HASHTAG #WHYITRIBE, WHY DO YOU THINK IT IS IMPORTANT TO CELEBRATE WHO WE ALREADY ARE TODAY?

#WhyITribe is an important ‘call to action’ for women of all ages to come together and celebrate who we are. I believe we must enjoy every moment for what it is, and celebrate “being”.

WHY DO YOU THINK WOMEN SHY AWAY FROM CELEBRATING OR PRAISING THEMSELVES SO MUCH?

Socialization. It’s the simplest way to say it. Years of socialization have caused women to internalize negative values and lose confidence in themselves. As a result, women often forget to take pride in their achievements.

Having said that, things are changing. More and more women are acting against the negativity and, importantly, platforms, such as THE TRIBE, are being created from which their voices can be heard. Important actors, such as governments and businesses, are starting to address their policies and outlooks to facilitate these changes and this is something that must continue!

HOW DO YOU OVERCOME THE TENDENCY TO DISCREDIT COMPLIMENTS YOU ARE GIVEN?

Overcoming the tendency to discredit compliments is something that a lot of people (not just women) struggle with, including myself. Eventually, you learn to accept compliments graciously as you know the people mean well. And then it makes you feel good.

HOW DOES SOCIETY REINFORCE THE IDEA WE ARE NOT ENOUGH AND HOW CAN WE TAKE THAT POWER BACK?

I believe just a few words of encouragement and believing in someone goes a long way in helping them achieve their goals. We all, men included, have different skills and attributes, which all play a pivotal role in society. By supporting the uniqueness of others, we can achieve a cumulative power of change.  

WHY IS THE TRIBE MOVEMENT IMPORTANT?

THE TRIBE movement is important because it encourages women by giving them a voice to celebrate all the things that come with being a woman. No matter who you are, where you are from and where you are going, THE TRIBE provides a positive platform for women. Encouragement and acceptance is an important part of what THE TRIBE does, that’s what makes it so important.

Jeroo Billimoria is a social entrepreneur and the founder of several international NGOs, her most recent initiatives include Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI), Aflatoun International, Childline India and Child Helpline International (CHI).

Occupation: Social Entrepreneur

Website: www.childfinanceinternational.org

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