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.