Camila Batmanghelidjh

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Camila Batmanghelidjh CBE
Camila Batmanghelidjh, April 2008(1).jpg
Camila Batmanghelidjh receiving her honorary doctorate from the Open University in April 2008
Born 1963
Tehran, Iran
Known for Businesswoman, author and philanthropist
Camila Batmanghelidjh's voice
Recorded January 2013 from the BBC Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs

Camila Batmanghelidjh CBE (/kəˈmɪlə bætmænˈɡɛlɨ/; born 1963) is a British businesswoman, charity leader and author of Iranian and Belgian ancestry. She has been living in England since the age of 11[1] and has founded two charities: the place2be[2] and Kids Company, where she and her team care for 17,000 vulnerable children and young people in London. The charity operates from three street-level centres in Southwark, Lambeth and Camden, as well as working in 41 inner-city schools. She lives in West Hampstead.[3]


Camila Batmanghelidjh was born in Tehran into a wealthy professional family. Her mother was a Roman Catholic from Belgium, while her Muslim, Persian father was the controversial doctor Fereydoon Batmanghelidj.[4][5] Her family were supporters of the Shah and so hugely affected by the 1979 revolution. She moved to England when she was 11 years old. She attended the fee-paying Sherborne Girls school in Dorset, where she claims "Everybody thought I was completely odd." "Y'know they just thought I was a total oddball."[6]

Severely dyslexic,[7] she has to dictate everything and cannot text or use a computer.[8] After leaving Sherborne Girls she went on to gain a first in Theatre and Dramatic Arts from the University of Warwick.[9]

Later she went to work as a nanny in west London, where she discovered a knack for dealing with emotionally damaged children.[10]

She has been described as "Britain's most colourful charity leader",[11] and is well known for her eccentric and flamboyant dress sense:

"it takes me probably 5 minutes to get dressed. I don't think about it at all... But the way I dress matches my psychological energy, so when I get up in the morning I think 'What colour do I want to wear today?' and I just bung it on really quickly and get out. I don't worry about what people think at all... And it's instantaneous - I instantly know what fabrics go together and what doesn't - and it's just instinctive."[12]

In 2009 the Women in Public Life Awards named her Businesswoman of the Year.[13]

In February 2013, she was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.[14] In the same month, she was appointed as an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for her work on behalf of underprivileged children in Britain.

Batmanghelidjh was interviewed by the Guardian in 2013.[15]


  1. ^ "How to Make a Difference". 2009-08-03. Retrieved 2010-09-17. 
  2. ^ "Making a lifetime of difference to children in schools". Place2Be. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  3. ^ As she stated on BBC Questiontime, 11 August 2011
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ "Interview with Camila Batmanghelidjh". Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  6. ^ [2][dead link]
  7. ^ Interview by Deborah Orr (2009-01-03). "Colourful character: Camila Batmanghelidjh on her unique approach to charity work - Profiles - People". The Independent. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  8. ^ [3][dead link]
  9. ^ "Foreign & Commonwealth Office". Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  10. ^ Flintoff, John-Paul. "Lost Innocents". 
  11. ^ Orr, Deborah (3 January 2009). "Colourful character: Camila Batmanghelidjh on her unique approach to charity work". The Independent. Retrieved 15 September 2010. 
  12. ^ [4][dead link]
  13. ^ "Past winners 2009". Retrieved 2010-09-17. 
  14. ^ BBC Radio 4, Woman's Hour Power list
  15. ^

External links[edit]