Harleen Walia

Director, Child Protection

Harleen Walia, is CIFF’s Director, of the Child Protection Portfolio and leads the organisation’s strategy and initiatives to make the world a safer place for children. A strong community and social services professional with an academic background in Political Science, Harleen has 24+ years’ experience of working as a child protection practitioner.


Prior to joining CIFF, Harleen has been the Deputy Director of CHILDLINE India Foundation, which anchors the 1098 child helpline in India (the only helpline exclusively for children in crisis); an initiative which she took to scale from less than 40% to over 80% coverage of the country.


She has also worked in the Ministry of Women and Child Development, India as a UNICEF supported Senior Consultant for Child protection for over six years; as a Training and Development Specialist at UN Office, Drugs and Crime; a Gender Programme Officer at the Centre for World Solidarity and as the Psychosocial Rehabilitation Programme Coordinator at Sanlaap, India (where she started her journey in Child Protection). Her professional training in mental health (counselling), capacity building and policy advocacy over the past two decades, have helped her to build the critical links between theory and practice, between children’s needs and their realities and between law /policy formulation and implementation.


Harleen is grateful for life’s varied learnings and her experience of working directly with survivors of violence which inspires her to do the work that she does. She firmly believes that a group of committed people with a shared vision can change the world; and that change can only be achieved by empowering individuals and communities with information, skills and opportunity on one hand and by ensuring positive/proactive systems and processes of governance on the other.