Giving a voice to children and young people
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Our Story

The CHI concept was the initiative of child helplines themselves.

Our Story:

The story of Child Helpline International started 25 years ago on the streets of India. CHI's Founder, Jeroo Billimoria, had been working with street children as a social worker. She gave the children her telephone number and told them to call if they needed any help.

The phone did not stop ringing.

That is when Jeroo realised that these children really needed someone to speak to, someone to assist them. The idea of a toll-free number emerged. She set up Childline India - India's first and only child helpline. Childline's approach was to have volunteers who answered the phone and who would go directly to the child in need.  The volunteers kept a log of the calls. This log would then become very important data for the creation of child protection policies, thus placing the helplines at the centre of child protection policy.

After its success in India, Jeroo explored the idea of taking Childline India's concept globally. This was for two main reasons: Most importantly, the children themselves requested this. Secondly, Childline was approached with requests to start branches in other countries. But Jeroo, instead of expanding Childline India, had a vision of creating a global network which provided technical assistance to countries who could start or expand their own helplines.

At an international gathering of child helplines in Pune, India in 2001, a number of child helpline representatives discussed together the need for a child helpline 'helpdesk', to support existing child helplines and to focus on helping to set up new ones where none yet existed.

This led to the 2003 International Consultation, held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. This was attended by representatives from 49 child helplines from around the globe. This included members of European helplines, who had also attempted to form a European collaboration. This gave all the opportunity to be part of a truley global network. It was here that Child Helpline International (CHI) was officially launched.  CHI was officially established in 2003 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where Jeroo was now based.

 

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