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UK in Albania

London 13:32, 09 Dec 2011
Tirana 14:32, 09 Dec 2011
Last updated at 5:31 (UK time) 23 Feb 2011

Camila Batmanghelidjh

Often described as the UK’s most colourful charity leader, Camila Batmanghelidjh has dedicated her life to helping vulnerable children. Born in Iran, she came to the UK aged nine and founded her first charity “The Place to Be” in her twenties. She then set up Kids Company in her thirties, and attributes its exponential growth to the generosity of the UK public. Find out more by watching the film below.

In her ‘See Britain’ short film, Camila charts Kids Company’s history. The charity started modestly in a building under a few disused railway arches. It has grown into an organisation with 6,000 volunteers and a budget of £12million, reaching 14,000 children across London - many of whom are considered at risk and living in deprived communities.

A psychotherapist for more than twenty years, Camila has developed a unique and pioneering approach in delivering services to vulnerable children. The film shows her at an exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, where some children being helped by Kids Company are displaying art. She remarks that it’s incredible that this exhibition is being held in such a high profile gallery, describing this as “an amazing testament of the commitment of people high up in British society to the welfare of children.”

Camila also discusses her dyslexia and how she never let this hold her back while in the UK. She says the British people embraced her colourful personality and appearance and “it’s precisely the appreciation the British have for those who dare to do things differently that makes this country so exciting to live in.”

Camila attended Sherborne School in Dorset and went on to read theatre and dramatic arts at Warwick University, graduating with a first. She is recognised across the UK and overseas for her work supporting vulnerable children, and speaks regularly at conferences and contributes to publications. Her book ‘Shattered Lives: Children living with Courage and Dignity,’ was published in May 2006. In 2007 Kids Company was awarded the Liberty and JUSTICE Human Rights Award.