Anyone wondering what they can do to help make things right after the appalling events of the last few days, could check out the amazing work done by Camila Batmanghelidjh at The Kid’s Company. Camila started the charity in 1996 to help vulnerable inner city kids in London, offering them a safe, family environment when everyone else had failed them. I’ve heard Camila talk a number of times at conferences and she is incredibly inspiring to listen to, completely free of bullshit and full of sensible ideas about how to make things right for these traumatised kids.
She is also always looks fabulous, swathed in brightly coloured clothes (she’s a big ‘double floral’ wearer), topped off with her signature printed turban and a pair of dramatic earrings swinging from her ears. It was actually her amazing sense of style that first drew me to her, it was an added bonus that she was so incredibly knowledgable on such an important subject. She has worked tirelessly for her kids, who are undoubtably a challenging bunch, and never lets anyone forget how important a strong family community is for young people.
No one, least of all Camila, condones the violence that’s been happening everywhere, much of which is outright thuggery and stealing, but she has got a better perspective on WHY it might have occurred. She wrote a terrific piece in The Independent yesterday on how she isn’t surprised we’ve got riots, and points out “It costs money to care. But it also costs money to clear up riots, savagery and antisocial behaviour”, something Mr Cameron might like to remember when he’s cutting his budgets for care services. Her article helped me understand a little better how we got here, you may not agree with everything she writes, but it is food for thought.
Couldn’t agree more. I too have heard Camilla speak, she is ferociously intelligent, caring and inspirational. I really think she is one of those rare people who makes a difference to many lives, every single day. Kids Co has a FB page which regularly posts how you can help them make a difference to the young people who seek their help.
Oh good idea mentioning the face book page Lilac, I should have put that in, I notice in today’s newspapers that Camila’s article has got pretty wide coverage, so let’s hope her influence spreads. A
So pleased you wrote this. She is such an AMAZING woman. If ever there was a candidate for canonisation….
And of course you would have written about her, even if she dressed like Mother Theresa, wouldn’t you? (I say this, as one who is guilty of watching distressing coverage of earthquakes and famines and thinking “wow, they really know how to put patterns together in Pakistan/Somalia….” Oh, and amidst the horror of Monday night laughing at the tweet “Where are the fashion police when you need them?”)