Camila Batmanghelidjh

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Camila Batmanghelidjh
CBE
Camila Batmanghelidjh plenary.jpg
Camila Batmanghelidjh at the NHS Confederation annual conference, July 2011.
Born c. 1963
Tehran, Iran
Education BA First Class Honours, Theatre Studies and Dramatic Arts
MA, Philosophy of Counselling and Psychotherapy
Alma mater University of Warwick
Antioch University
Camila Batmanghelidjh's voice
Recorded January 2013 from the BBC Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs

Camila Batmanghelidjh, CBE (/kəˈmɪlə bætmænˈɡɛl/; Persian: کامیلا باتمانقلیچ‎‎ Kamylā Batmanghelych; born c. 1963) is an Iranian-born author and former charity executive in the United Kingdom.[1][2] She is best known as the founder of Kids Company, a charity which worked with marginalised children and young people in the UK.[3][4]

Between 1996–2015, Batmanghelidjh became a high profile "media darling", fêted by celebrities and politicians for her work with Kids Company.[5] In 2007, The Guardian described her as "one of the most powerful advocates for vulnerable children in the country".[6] She was dubbed the "Angel of Peckham", while the Daily Mail called her "Our Own Mother Teresa" and "Mother Camila of Camberwell".[7][8]

In 2015, amid allegations of mismanagement and the squandering of funds, Batmanghelidjh was forced to step down as the charity's chief executive, and Kids Company declared bankruptcy, despite receiving millions of pounds in government funding.[9][10]

Early life[edit]

Batmanghelidjh was born in 1963 in Tehran, Iran, the third of four children, to Fereydoon Batmanghelidj (c. 1931–2004), a doctor, and his wife Lucile, a Belgian national.[7][11] Her parents met and married in London, where her father was studying at St Mary's Hospital, before returning to Tehran.[12] Batmanghelidjh was born two-and-a-half months premature and was not expected to survive.[13] Her birth was not registered and the date was not noted.[14] The preterm birth resulted in Batmanghelidjh developing learning disabilities (including dyslexia) and an endocrine disorder affecting her weight.[15][16][17][18]

Education[edit]

She attended Sherborne School for Girls, an independent school in Dorset.[19] She attended the University of Warwick where she received a first class degree in Theatre and the Dramatic Arts.[20] At the age of 25 she was employed as a part-time psychotherapist in a project in Camberwell, south London, funded by Children in Need.[20]

Charity work[edit]

The Place To Be[edit]

In 1991, Batmanghelidjh was involved in the formation of The Place to Be, a Family Service Unit project working with troubled children in primary schools.[21][22] Batmanghelidjh resigned from the project in 1995.[22]

Southwark's Urban Academy[edit]

The Urban Academy was a post-16 educational and life skills academy in Southwark, south London. It was founded by Batmanghelidjh and was run by her Kids Company organisation.[23][24][25]

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 claimed that it helped some 36,000 children, young people and families, although this figure is disputed and the organisation is said to have reached only 1,600 children.[26] 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.[27]

Deborah Orr, in an interview with Batmanghelidgh, reported in 2012 that fifteen independent evaluations of Kids Company had found that 96 per cent of children assisted return to education and employment and an "impact on crime reduction" of 88 per cent.[20]

In July 2015 a report by Newsnight and BuzzFeed revealed that public funding for Kids Company was to be withheld unless Batmanghelidjh was replaced.[28] 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.[29][30]

On 5 August 2015, Kids Company closed its operations[31] 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.[32] The charity had announced that it was closing down because "it is unable to pay its debts as they fall due”.[33]

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph in August 2015, Batmanghelidjh said she hoped Kids Company could make a comeback after some restructuring and once the media storm had died down.[34]

In mid-August 2015, Batmanghelidjh announced that she would be opening a food bank in Lambeth, south London. She said fifty former staff had volunteered to help run the pop-up Kids Dining Room in Loughborough Junction to provide food for up to 3,000 children and young people. Approximately 200 people used the service in August 2015. [35][36]

Awards and honours[edit]

Batmanghelidjh receiving an honorary degree from the Open University in 2008

In 2009 Batmanghelidjh was named Businesswoman of the Year in the Dods and Scottish Widows Women in Public Life Awards.[37] A New Statesman readers' poll awarded her the title Person of the Year in 2006.[38] She has also received Ernst and Young's Social Entrepreneur of the Year award (2005),[39] Third Sector magazine's Most Admired Chief Executive (2007)[40] and the Centre for Social Justice's lifetime achievement award in 2009.[40] Batmanghelidjh has been awarded honorary degrees and doctorates by several universities including York St John University,[41] the Open University,[42] Brunel University,[1] London South Bank University[43] and Nottingham Trent University.[44] In September 2006 she was conferred with an Honorary Fellowship of Goldsmiths, University of London.[45]

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.[46] She was appointed an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to children and young people.[47] In September 2014 she became an Honorary Fellow of UCL.[48]

Publications[edit]

  • Batmanghelidjha, Camila (May 1999). "Whose political correction?: The challenge of therapeutic work with inner-city children experiencing deprivation". Psychodynamic Counselling 5 (2): 231–244. doi:10.1080/13533339908402537. 
  • Batmanghelidjh, Camila (2000). "Betrayal: the politics of child mental health". RSA Journal 148 (5493): 38–45. 
  • Batmanghelidjh, Camila (2006). Shattered Lives: Children Who Live with Courage and Dignity. London: Jessica Kingsley. ISBN 978-1-843-10603-6. 
  • Batmanghelidjh, Camila (October 2011). "England riots 2011: Camila Batmanghelidjh takes a look in the mirror". Socialist Lawyer (59): 16–17. doi:10.13169/socialistlawyer.59.0016. 
  • Batmanghelidjh, Camila (2013). Mind the Child. London: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-1-846-14655-8. 
  • Batmanghelidjh, Camila (2015). "Clinical snobbery—get me out of here! New clinical paradigms for children with complex disturbances". In Warnecke, Tom. The Psyche in the Modern World. London: Karnac Books. pp. 43–61. ISBN 978-1-782-20046-8. 

Television, film, and media[edit]

Batmanghelidjh was the subject of Ruby Wax Gets Streetwise, a documentary film about her charity work with Kids Company, presented by Ruby Wax. Directed by Michael Waldman, the film was broadcast on 15 March 2000 by BBC Two.[49][50]

In 2002, she was interviewed by Fergal Keane for Taking A Stand, a radio documentary exploring her work as an advocate for "society's most anti-social, violent and disruptive children". The 30-minute documentary was first broadcast on 15 January 2002 by BBC Radio 4.[51]

A 2003 Channel Four series, Second Chance, featured Batmanghelidjh's work at Kids Company with children who had been labeled "unteachable".[52][53]

Batmanghelidjh's work with Kids Company was the subject of Tough Kids, Tough Love, a film by Lynn Alleway, first broadcast on 19 October 2005 by BBC Two.[54][55][56] Alleway made a second film, at Batmanghelidjh's invitation, during the summer of 2015, which unwittingly captured the collapse of Kids Company. Sam Wollaston, writing in The Guardian, described it as: "like an invitation, on the evening of 14 April 1912, to the bridge of the Titanic."[57] The film was broadcast as Camila's Kids Company: The Inside Story on 3 February 2016 by BBC One.[58]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Camila Batmanghelidjh". Brunel University London. 6 September 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2016. Camila has published widely, is the author of Shattered Lives: Children Living with Courage and Dignity, published in 2006 
  2. ^ Sale, Jonathan (14 December 2006). "Passed/Failed: An education in the life of Camila Batmanghelidjh, the founder of Kids Company". The Independent. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  3. ^ Harris, Paul (17 December 2000). "Where lost kids find they have a future". The Observer. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  4. ^ Beresford, Peter (29 October 2015). "Kids Company pressed every funding button – but lost sight of kids it was set up to serve". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  5. ^ "We Love Documentaries". Coventry Evening Telegraph. 3 February 2016. Retrieved 7 February 2016 – via HighBeam Research. 
  6. ^ "Immovable force". The Guardian. 10 October 2007. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  7. ^ a b Hawkes, Steve (17 October 2006). "Angel of Peckham's gift of giving". BBC News. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  8. ^ Bracchi, Paul (9 August 2001). "Is This the End for Our Own Mother Teresa?". Daily Mail. Retrieved 7 February 2016 – via HighBeam Research. (subscription required (help)). 
  9. ^ Grierson, Jamie (21 August 2015). "Kids Company faces investigation over financial collapse". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  10. ^ Butler, Patrick (29 October 2015). "Labour and Conservative ministers ignored repeated warnings over Kids Company". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  11. ^ Flintoff, John-Paul (3 January 2014). "Camila Batmanghelidjh: My family values". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  12. ^ Brown, Mick (21 November 2015). "Camila Batmanghelidjh: 'I'm not worried what people think of me...I have to be prepared to be hated with grace'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  13. ^ Lovett, Laura (21 August 2010). "Camila Batmanghelidjh". The Times (70032). p. 8[S3]. 
  14. ^ Rayment, Tim (6 December 2015). "The Odd Couple". The Sunday Times. p. 2. (subscription required (help)). 
  15. ^ Saner, Emine (22 February 2013). "Camila Batmanghelidjh: 'I chose the vocation'". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  16. ^ Orr, Deborah (3 January 2009). "Colourful character: Camila Batmanghelidjh on her unique approach to charity work". The Independent . Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  17. ^ Turner, Janice (18 July 2009). "'I don't need holidays or relationships'". The Times (69891). p. 6[S1]. 
  18. ^ Jardine, Cassandra (18 November 2007). "Woman who lives for other people's children". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  19. ^ Monks, Fran (3 August 2009). "Care for vulnerable inner city children". How to Make a Difference. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  20. ^ a b c Orr, Deborah (3 January 2009). "Colourful character: Camila Batmanghelidjh on her unique approach to charity work". The Independent. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  21. ^ Williams, Sally (27 September 2007). "Place2B: It's Goood to Talk". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 7 January 2013 – via Wayback Machine. 
  22. ^ a b "The early years of Place2Be". Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
  23. ^ Bishop, Zara (12 September 2006). "An honour to help kids". icSouthlondon. Archived from the original on 14 January 2007 – via Wayback Machine. 
  24. ^ "London Against Gun and Knife Crime: Kids Company". Greater London Authority. 2006. Archived from the original on 8 March 2007 – via Wayback Machine. 
  25. ^ "What we do". Urban Academy. Archived from the original on 18 April 2011 – via Wayback Machine. 
  26. ^ Goslett, Miles (6 August 2015). "How I blew the whistle on Kids Company - and Camila Batmanghelidjh". The Spectator. Retrieved 9 August 2015. 
  27. ^ "Camila Batmanghelidjh: 'I chose the vocation'". The Guardian. 22 February 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  28. ^ Cook, Chris (3 July 2015). "Kids Company's Camila Batmanghelidjh asked to step down by government". BBC News. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  29. ^ Butler, Patrick (3 July 2015). "Camila Batmanghelidjh to leave Kids Company, citing political 'ugly games'". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  30. ^ Bingham, John (5 July 2015). "Kids Company under new Charity Commission scrutiny amid fears for its future". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  31. ^ "Kids Company: '£3m donation withdrawn amid police probe'". BBC News. 6 August 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  32. ^ Cook, Chris (5 August 2015). "Kids Company charity in closure warning". BBC News. Retrieved 16 October 2015. 
  33. ^ Wright, Oliver (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. 
  34. ^ Bingham, John (11 August 2015). "Kids Company could return after a 'restructure’". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  35. ^ Hellen, Nicholas (16 August 2015). "Camila opens food kitchen as taxpayer faces £25m Kids Company bill". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  36. ^ Mullin, Gemma (19 August 2015). "Is this the start of Kids Company 2.0? Volunteers from closed charity open pop-up 'dining room' handing out food parcels to more than 150 people". Daily Mail. Retrieved 14 November 2015. 
  37. ^ "Past winners 2009". Women in Public Life Awards. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  38. ^ O'Connor, Sarah (18 June 2007). "Building bridges". New Statesman. 
  39. ^ Wheatcroft, Patience (28 September 2005). "There's always scope for determined newcomers". The Times (68504). p. 2. 
  40. ^ a b "Observer Ethical Awards 2015: Judges". The Observer. 25 January 2015. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  41. ^ Lewis, Haydn (14 November 2013). "York St John University degree results – Day 2". The York Press. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  42. ^ "Honorary Graduates 2008". The Open University. 25 April 2008. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  43. ^ "Camila Batmanghelidjh Honorary Fellowship". London South Bank University. Retrieved 31 August 2015. 
  44. ^ "Charity leader Camila Batmanghelidjh to receive honorary degree". Nottingham Trent University. 16 July 2012. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  45. ^ "University News". The Times (68800). 8 September 2006. p. 71. 
  46. ^ "The Power List 2013". BBC Radio 4. 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2015. 
  47. ^ "2013 Honours List" (PDF). Gov.uk. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  48. ^ "Honorary Fellows of UCL". Ucl.ac.uk. Retrieved 2015-10-16. 
  49. ^ Gerrie, Anthea (12 March 2000). "Forget Hollywood, Now Ruby Has Got Street Cred". Sunday Mirror. Retrieved 7 February 2016 – via HighBeam Research. (subscription required (help)). 
  50. ^ "Television". The Times (66775). 15 March 2000. p. 38. 
  51. ^ "Radio". The Times (67348). 15 January 2002. p. 25. 
  52. ^ Benjamin, Alison (16 April 2003). "Teenagers running out of track". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  53. ^ "Arts and Entertainment". The Times (67741). 19 April 2003. p. 38[S4]. 
  54. ^ Andrew, Billen (24 October 2005). "Reality bites". New Statesman. 
  55. ^ Purves, Libby (18 October 2005). "Love at the end of the road". The Times (68521). p. 22. 
  56. ^ "Television". The Times (68519). 15 October 2005. p. 60. 
  57. ^ Wollaston, Sam (4 February 2016). "Camila's Kids Company: The Inside Story review – both damning and vindicatory". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  58. ^ Burns, Amy (3 February 2016). "Camila's Kids Company: The Inside Story, TV review". The Independent. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 

External links[edit]