Twelve year old Bilaal Rajan is a published author, motivational speaker, tireless fundraiser, and a UNICEF children’s ambassador. In 2004, he founded the Hands for Help Organization (www.bilaalrajan.com) to heighten awareness of youth issues and raise millions of dollars to help kids in need all over the world.
“My main goal is to have one million young people get involved in their communities over the next three years,” says Bilaal, whose accomplishments and concepts gradually became the content of his newly-published book, Making Change: Tips from an Underage Overachiever (www.makingchangenow.com, Orca Book Publishers 2008).
When Bilaal was only four years old, he sold Clementine oranges door-to-door to raise funds for the victims of the 2001 earthquake in Gujarat, India. It was a small start, but later he sold handmade acrylic plates to raise $1,200 for HIV/AIDS orphans, helped build a school in Tanzania for HIV/AIDS orphans, sold cookie boxes to raise over $50,000 for the affected people and children of Hurricane-devastated Haiti, raised $13,000 for the victims of the Tsunami in South-East Asia, as well as more than $50,000 for the World Partnership Walk.
In 2004, Bilaal issued a UNICEF Canada Kids Earthquake Challenge (www.unicef.ca), raising $50,000. As a result, in January 2005, the Toronto District School Board presented him and the President and CEO of UNICEF Canada with a cheque for $1.3 million. The Government of Canada then matched this, making the final donation nearly $4 million.
To date, Bilaal has raised nearly $5 million for various causes.
Bilaal’s efforts have also brought him awards, including the 2008 “Top 20 Under 20 Recipient” Award for outstanding efforts in philanthropy, TVOntario’s “Agent of Change” recognition, and the Junior Citizen of the Year Award, among others.