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Remembering Jaleel

Jaleel, with his wife Aabitha and one of their children

Jaleel, with his wife Banu and one of their children, Roshan

K. Abdul Jaleel passed away on Wednesday 4 March 2020. We have lost a courageous and passionate friend and colleague. We remember all that Jaleel accomplished, the lives he lifted up and communities coming together to protect their young people from exploitation that he inspired.

Jaleel helped to launch the Freedom Fund’s project in Tamil Nadu in 2015 and had been instrumental in supporting and guiding partners and communities there ever since. One of his greatest accomplishments whilst with the Freedom Fund was helping to create a film-based curriculum used to empower young people to prevent exploitation.

Prior to the Freedom Fund, Jaleel worked with Geneva Global and International Justice Mission. For those of us who worked with Jaleel, we remember his unwavering enthusiasm, his determination to tackle any challenge and his consistently positive attitude. We could always count on his support, his sharing of ideas, problem-solving and above all his care for people. His sense of respect and compassion for each person was a core part of his personality and beliefs. We simply enjoyed being with him.

All our thoughts and prayers are with his family. We hope to be able to organise a memorial gathering in Chennai when we can do so.

We encourage you to please share your memories of Jaleel on this page. There is an option to include both comments and photos below.

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    Dan Colleague

    Jaleel had an infectious smile and energy. I remember the first time I met him he was talking so passionately about the work he was doing, and had such a warmth about him. His dancing and his laughter lit up our staff retreats. We miss him. He made a real difference to so many people.

    Nick Grono Colleague at Freedom Fund

    Jaleel was a wonderful, joyful, and very impactful colleague at the Freedom Fund. He was instrumental in our efforts to set up our hugely influential Southern India hotspot. Beyond his work for the Freedom Fund, Jaleel also make significant contributions to anti-slavery efforts more broadly, during his time with Geneva Global and International Justice Mission – as always, demonstrating his commitment to serve the most vulnerable in India. I know he was hugely valued by his colleagues and is missed by all of us.


    4th March 2020 is the day which put Vizhuthugal organization and me in deeper sadness. Yes, that’s the day Mr Jaleel, left us to the eternal world. Even after 6 months, we were not able to come out of mourning. The Friendship and solidarity between Mr Jaleel and Vizhuthugal organization are unforgettable.

    In the past 10 years, with his support we have liberated and rehabilitated more than 200 bonded labours from Tiruppur, Erode, Coimbatore, and Namakkal districts. More than thousands of peoples have benefited through his noble work.

    The way he approaches, good attitude, ability to hold and lead a team, ability to understand anything easily, hard work, simplicity are the values that Vizhuthugal and its community learned and follow.

    After hearing the news of his demise, we travelled to his house 450 miles away from Avinashi to see his face for the last time. While returning we extent our condolence and courage to his mother, wife, and children.

    The marginalized community will be remain thankful to him for the work over the past 10 years in the abolition of bonded labours and social slavery. We request to publish a book containing his achievements on his Memorial Day next year.

    Let Mr Jaleel’s fame long live.

    In Solidarity,

    The Team
    Vizhuthugal Organization
    Erode District
    10/478, Avinashi, Tamil Nadu

    Sarah Colleague at Freedom Fund

    Whilst I only had the pleasure of meeting Jaleel in London for the all staff retreat in 2019, we realised we had a mutual labour rights activist friend in common in India. We talked about the struggle against bonded labour in India, and I was struck by his passion for social justice and fighting for all.


    Your deep contagious smile and love of life, as well as your constant struggle for a better life for the many you were dedicated to support will remain an inspiration to me.


    Meant to add this photo as well.

    Erin Phelps Colleague

    While I only had the privilege of meeting Jaleel a few times, he is one of those individuals whose presence and warmth stick with you. His will be so missed at the Freedom Fund, especially during our all-staff convenings, where he was frequently the one keeping everyone smiling and laughing. I will always hold a special memory of the time that a group of us went dancing in London- Jaleel had a way of instantly making others feel at ease and passing on his infectious love for life. I hope that we can help carry on his work in a way that honors his legacy.

    Michelle Mendonca Colleague

    Jaleel was such a warm, caring and compassionate colleague. I remember how he went the extra mile to make sure everyone felt included and cared for. His smile, good humour and empathetic spirit will be deeply missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

    Shira Hodges

    Jaleel would always say that he was my brother from another mother. I cherished his friendship. He was an optimist and worked hard to make others smile and laugh. He was always in touch to just say hi or send me a random laugh of the day. His commitment and passion for his community was resounding. I miss him and will continue to smile thinking of the wonderful memories we shared. My deepest sympathies go out to his family!

    Ethiopian Team ( Meseret B. & Daniel M.) Colleagues at GGI & FF

    We heard the news with shock. Jaleel was a wonderful colleague who always cherishes, keeps the momentum, and was easy to talk to.

    Jaleel will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.

    P.Bala Murugan

    I met him in May 2015 and became so close to him. He is like my brother and we used to share all our personal things. There is no secret between us. He is very lovable, committed and dedicated person. It is a great loss to me. As a team, we miss him a lot. We were very supportive to each other during the crisis and difficult situations. He will be in our memories always.

    Hannah de Ville Colleague at the Freedom Fund

    Jaleel radiated light and enthusiasm for life and the fight to empower the disempowered. His early passing is a devastating loss to everyone who knew him and those who never had a chance to meet him.

    Abhijit COLLEAGUE

    I consider him a very nice and friendly person in my limited contact with Jaleel. He’s been very passionate about his work. I hope that his family will find comfort in this time of great loss.

    Maria Colleague at Geneva Global

    Jaleel brought hope, optimism, and care to all he did. He was a light on our team. And deeply committed to all he did. Grateful for all that Jaleel taught us about joy and endurance. His legacy lives on.

    Neeta Colleague

    First time I met Jaleel in 2012 when he was with IJM and since then we developed a deep relationship of mutual respect and trust. Later he joined me as a colleague but he was more like a brother to me. I always admired his humility, sincerity, passion and hard work. Always ready to help others and very emotional. It’s too hard to believe he is no more with us. My thoughts and prayers for strength and courage are with the family during this difficult time. Jaleel I will miss you.

    Rana Alok Singh ETI - Freedom Fund TNMS Project

    Jaleel was a bundle of joy and positive energy. I have interacted with him during ETI events and always used to admire his positivity. He will always be remembered for his passion and commitment to work, especially with the vulnerable groups. I pray that his family finds strength to bear this untimely loss.

    Beth Zimmerman Colleague at Geneva Global

    Jaleel brought so much joy, fun, and laughter to everything he did. His endless supply of energy never ceased to amaze me. I will always remember, despite a long day of meetings, he and Bala racing each other through the streets of London. I’m grateful for the time I worked alongside and learned from Jaleel. The passion and commitment he had for his work and the care he had for the people in his life was energizing. An immeasurable loss for so many.

    MA Britto

    Jaleel was such a fantastic person to relate with. One of the finest human beings that I have seen in the recent past. Always cheerful, loving, charming and friendly with people! Never spoke ill of others, but radiated positive energy among friends. Simple and unassuming but committed to the cause ! The poor and the marginalized were close to his heart. It was most unfortunate that he departed from us very early that one could think of! It is an irreparable loss to us, the Freedom Fund family and to all our partners. Words are insufficient to express the feelings of sadness , pain and agony, due to the loss of our fellow brother!

    John Jesubakthan Classmate, friend, colleague at IJM

    I’ve known Jaleel from 2005 from college. We both did masters together at MCC, Chennai. Jaleel and I spend 7 months in Adelaide, Australia for our internship. Later we both worked for IJM for 5 years. I’ve seen Jaleel as a very enthusiastic person. He is a real hard worker. He really worked hard to get to that level. He has helped many poor and oppressed people in India. Jaleel and I lost touch the last 4 years as we both were busy in our area. The last three weeks before He passed away, we both spoke a lot over phone. I never imagined that his life would end soon. I was hopeful that he would have a successful surgery and get back to normal health.

    We have lost a good friend and brother. I pray that his wife, kids, his sister and his mother will find comfort during this time of big loss. Thank you freedom fund for raising funds for Jaleel’s family God bless you all!


    During partners meeting at Dhindukal .Mr. Jaleel was friendly and always a smile.


    Erode district level volunteers conference during conference we welcome every one with rose .Mr.Karuppusamy Director of READ welcomed Mr.Jaleel to this volunteers conference

    Mark Reiff Colleague at GGI

    Jaleel brought such light to the Geneva Global team while he was with us and his loss is a source of real grief. I was grateful to call him my colleague.


    More than colleague, Jaleel was like a brother to me. We shared so many memories over the past five years and I’m so grateful for the short time that our lives crossed paths. He was one of kindest, warmest and most generous people I know. I’ll always remember his optimism- even in the face of challenges he was always the one uplifting and motivating us. I’ll also never forget his passion for food and cooking and introducing me to Southern Indian cuisine, I have so many fond memories of meals shared together. He was the best travel partner and friend. I am forever better for knowing him.


    Thank you for living your life with purpose. It’s a lesson for us all. Rest in Power, friend.


    We miss the joy and enthusiasm that Jaleel brought to this work. I’m thankful for all the days we spent in the field listening and talking with people in communities in Tamil Nadu. Jaleel used all his gifts and passion to try to make a difference.