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Bilaal Rajan

Bilaal Rajan, 2008
Born September 7, 1996 (1996-09-07) (age 13)
Toronto, Canada
Residence Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
Website
http://bilaalrajan.com
http://makingchangenow.com

Bilaal Rajan (born September 7, 1996, in Toronto, Canada) is a fundraiser, motivational speaker, author, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Canada’s child ambassador, and founder of the Making Change Now organization.[1]

Rajan began fundraising when he was four years old, selling clementines door-to-door in his neighborhood to raise C$350 in funds for the victims of the earthquakes in the Gujarat province of India in 2001.[2] He later sold handmade plastic plates to raise $1,200 for HIV/Aids orphans, sold cookie boxes to raise over $6,000 for the affected people and children of Hurricane-devastated Haiti, raised $50,000 for the victims of the tsunami in south-east Asia,[3] and more than $50,000 for the World Partnership Walk. In 2004, Rajan launched the Canada Kids Earthquake Challenge for the Canadian National Committee, raising the total funds for tsunami relief to around $1.8 million.[4][5] To date, he has raised over $5 million for various causes, and in March 2005 he was chosen as an official ambassador for UNICEF.[1]

Rajan visited Tanzania in July 2007 to bring awareness and education of HIV/AIDS to their communities. As a participant of Governor General Michaëlle Jean's Order of Canada Mentorship Program,[6] he visited Ecuador in August 2008 to help build a primary school. Two months later, Rajan published Making Change: Tips from an Underage Overachiever,[7] which focuses on how young people can work together in their local communities to increase awareness about global issues and raise funds for those in need.

In April 2009, Rajan established the Barefoot Challenge, an annual event where he lives life without shoes for seven days during National Volunteer Week. Thousands of young people from more than 25 countries around the world kicked off their shoes to better understand the struggles faced by poor children in underdeveloped countries.

In July 2009, Rajan met personally with Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa[8] to discuss several of his upcoming youth initiatives. He also spoke to students at several schools in Cape Town. Film makers produced a documentary about his journey called My Name is Bilaal.

Rajan has addressed organizations such as URISA Canada, FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance USA, Indo-Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Haitian and Indonesian communities of Toronto, Canada,[1] and is a recipient of the 2008 Top 20 Under 20 Award[9] and the 2009 Huggable Hero Award.[10] He is currently creating a youth volunteer award program with every middle school in Canada and partnering with Ben Mulroney, CTV's Canadian Idol and eTalk host, for the UNICEF Trick-or-Treat Campaign.[11]

References

  1. ^ a b c About Bilaal. Bilaalrajan.com. Retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  2. ^ "Meet Some Inspirational Kids". EcoKidsOnline.com. Retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  3. ^ Ruiz, Tani (March 21, 2003). "Bilaal Rajan: UNICEF’s youngest fundraiser and advocate". unicef.org. Retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  4. ^ (June 2005). UNICEF Annual Report 2004 (PDF), p. 5. ISBN 92-806-3893-9. Retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  5. ^ "Bilaal Rajan, UNICEF Canada Child Representative" (PDF). unicef.org. Retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  6. ^ Mentorship. CitizenVoices.gg.ca. Retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  7. ^ Welcome. MakingChangeNow.com. Retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  8. ^ "My Journey to South Africa - What a Country!". Retrieved on October 20, 2009.
  9. ^ Winner Bios (PDF), p. 5. top20under20.ca. Retrieved on October 20, 2008.
  10. ^ "Twelve Young Leaders Named 2009 Huggable Heroes in Build-A-Bear Workshop Community Service Program. Retrieved on October 20, 2009.
  11. ^ (October 20, 2008). "Media Advisory: Ben Mulroney and Bilaal Rajan, National UNICEF Ambassadors, Launch Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF Campaign at Toronto's George Webster Elementary School". MarketWire.com. Retrieved on October 20, 2008.
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