Erlijn holds a Master in Industrial Engineering & Management Sciences from the Technical Univerity of Eindhoven and a Masters degree in South East Asian language and culture at the University of Leiden. She started her career in the corporate sector, working as a financial and strategic advisor for major Dutch companies like ABN, KLM Dutch Airlines and the national government. In 2006, she co-founded Microcredit for Mothers, a foundation catering to the poorest of the poor women in Southeast Asia, reaching out to thousands of families. For the last ten years she has been working in the traditional NGO sector as corporate-partnership manager and program-manager. Next to that, she was interim MD for Banking with the Poor Network in Singapore, StoereVrouwen, en HandOn Microkrediet.