Camila Batmanghelidjh

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Camila Batmanghelidjh
Camila Batmanghelidjh, April 2008(1).jpg
Camila Batmanghelidjh receiving her honorary doctorate from the Open University in April 2008
Born (1963-01-01) 1 January 1963 (age 52)
Tehran, Iran
Known for Businesswoman, author
Camila Batmanghelidjh's voice
Recorded January 2013 from the BBC Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs

Camila Batmanghelidjh CBE (/kəˈmɪlə bætmænˈɡɛlɨ/; Persian: کامیلا باتمانقلیچ‎‎ Kamylā Batmanghelych; born 1963) is an Iranian-born British charity executive and author. She is best known as the founder of Kids Company, a charity which, until its controversial closure in August 2015,[1] worked with inner-city children and young people in the UK.

Early life[edit]

Batmanghelidjh was born on 1 January 1963 in Tehran. Her mother was a Belgian Roman Catholic, while her father was the Iranian doctor Fereydoon Batmanghelidj. She was born two and a half months premature and is severely dyslexic.[2]

In 1974 her family emigrated to the United Kingdom, and she attended Sherborne Girls, an independent school in Dorset.[3] She attended the University of Warwick. She has been a psychotherapist for more than twenty years.[4]


In 1991 Batmanghelidjh established The Place to Be (now Place2Be), a charity working with troubled children in primary schools.[5] She resigned from and left the charity in 1995.[6] Place2Be now reaches 80,000 children, working in 235 schools across the UK.[7]

Kids Company[edit]

Main article: Kids Company

In 1996, after leaving the Place2Be, Batmanghelidjh founded Kids Company, a charity that provided care to children whose lives had been disrupted by poverty, abuse and trauma. Originally a single drop-in centre in Camberwell, Kids Company's services allegedly reached some 36,000 children, young people and families. However, this is now disputed.[8] The charity operated through a network of street level centres, alternative education centres, therapy houses and with over 40 schools in London and Bristol as well as a performing arts programme in Liverpool.[9]

In July 2015 a report by Newsnight and BuzzFeed revealed that public funding for Kids Company was to be withheld unless Batmanghelidjh was replaced.[10] On 3 July it was reported that Batmanghelidjh would step down as chief executive in the next few months and continue in a "presidential" role.[11][12]

On 5 August 2015, Kids Company closed its operations[13] less than a week after receiving a government grant of £3,000,000. The charity was given the money against the advice of officials, who had raised concerns about value for money and how it would be spent.[14] The charity had announced that it was closing down because "it is unable to pay its debts as they fall due”.[15]

Speaking to the Telegraph newspaper in August 2015, Camila Batmanghelidjh said she hoped Kids Company could make a comeback after some restructuring and once the media storm had died down.[16]

In mid-August 2015, Batmanghelidjh announced that she would be opening a food kitchen in Lambeth, South London. She said fifty former staff had volunteered to help run the Kids Dining Room to provide food for up to 3,000 children and young people.[17]

Awards and honours[edit]

In 2009 Batmanghelidjh was named Businesswoman of the Year by the Dods and Scottish Widows Women in Public Life Awards.[18] She has also received Ernst and Young's Social Entrepreneur of the Year award (2006), Third Sector Magazine's Most Admired Chief Executive (2007) and the Centre for Social Justice's lifetime achievement award in 2009. Batmanghelidjh has been awarded honorary degrees and doctorates by several universities including York St John University, the Open University, Brunel University, London South Bank University and Nottingham Trent University.[19][20][21][22][23]

In February 2013, she was named one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.[24] In the same month, she was appointed an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to children and young people.[25] In September 2014 she became an Honorary Fellow of UCL.[26]


  • Batmanghelidjh, Camila (2007). Shattered Lives. London: Jessica Kingsley. ISBN 1-8431-0603-5. 
  • Batmanghelidjh, Camila (2013). Mind the Child. London: Particular Books, Penguin Random House. ISBN 1-8461-4655-0. 


  1. ^ Kids Company boss Camila Batmanghelidjh turned HQ into private 'Aladdin's den' Daily Telegraph 8th August, 2015
  2. ^ Interview by Deborah Orr (3 January 2009). "Colourful character: Camila Batmanghelidjh on her unique approach to charity work – Profiles – People". The Independent. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  3. ^ "How to Make a Difference". 3 August 2009. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  4. ^ "Camila Batmanghelidjh". UK in Albania. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Archived from the original on 17 March 2013. 
  5. ^ Sally Williams (27 September 2007). "Place2B: It's Goood to Talk". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  6. ^ "The early years of Place2Be". Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
  7. ^ "What We Do". The Place2B. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  8. ^ "The inside story of how The Spectator broke the Kids Company scandal". The Spectator. 6 August 2015. Retrieved 9 August 2015. 
  9. ^ "Camila Batmanghelidjh: ‘I chose the vocation’". The Guardian. 22 February 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  10. ^ Chris Cook (3 July 2015). "Kids Company's Camila Batmanghelidjh asked to step down by government". BBC News. 
  11. ^ Patrick Butler (3 July 2015). "Camila Batmanghelidjh to leave Kids Company, citing political 'ugly games'". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  12. ^ John Bingham (5 July 2015). "Kids Company under new Charity Commission scrutiny amid fears for its future". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  13. ^ "Kids Company: '£3m donation withdrawn amid police probe'". BBC News. 6 August 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ Oliver Wright (5 August 2015). "Kids Company: Camila Batmanghelidjh lashes out at 'ill-spirited ministers' as she announces the organisation is about to go bankrupt". The Independent. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  16. ^ "Kids Company could return after a 'restructure’". The Daily Telegraph. 11 August 2015. Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  17. ^ "Camila opens food kitchen as taxpayer faces £25m Kids Company bill". The Sunday Times. 16 August 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  18. ^ "Past winners 2009". Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  19. ^ Haydn Lewis (14 November 2013). "York St John University degree results – Day 2". The York Press. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  20. ^ "Honorary Graduates 2008". The Open University. 25 April 2008. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  21. ^ "Camila Batmanghelidjh - 2011". Brunel University London. 6 September 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2015. 
  22. ^ "Camila Batmanghelidjh Honorary Fellowship". London South Bank University. Retrieved 31 August 2015. 
  23. ^ "Charity leader Camila Batmanghelidjh to receive honorary degree". Nottingham Trent University. 16 July 2012. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  24. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - Woman's Hour - The Power List 2013". BBC. 
  25. ^ "2013 Honours List" (PDF). Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  26. ^

External links[edit]