Friday, 16 May 2008

Interview: Camila Batmangeilidjh, Kids Company

Full Story:

There can be few Londoners who have not now heard of Camila Batmangeilidjh and her visionary creation, Kids Company. Camila has been working her extraordinary magic on kids for over 10 years now, sweeping the streets of those left behind, the ones that fall through the social net, the children no-one knows what to do with. The charity is now well established and much admired, and there are plans to replicate it all over the placebut things aint always been easy for Camila.
She was born into relative luxury in Tehran, but things fell apart for her after the revolution when her familys goods were seized and the family effectively exiled. She has struggled with dyslexia and has known material hardship: hey, she even re-mortgaged her flat twice to raise funds for Kids Co when things were bad.
Her philosophy that love is all it takes, and her belief that even the roughest tearaways can be put back on the rails with kindness have been pooh-poohed by mainstream child therapists, but her results speak for themselves.
Camila is about as special as it comes in human form: a meeting with her leaves a warm glow, a feeling that this roving Londonist reporter can only describe as having been Camila-ed. She is one of Londons real treasures, and we all owe her a debt of real gratitude for showing us how to roll up our sleeves and get on with it.

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