Camila Batmanghelidjh tribute
The University of London is very sad to learn of the passing of Camila Batmanghelidjh CBE, to whom we awarded an honorary degree in 2013.
Born in Iran and educated privately in the UK, Camila Batmanghelidjh had dreamed of opening an orphanage as a child. After qualifying as a psychotherapist, she became a children’s campaigner and founder of ‘Kids Company’, a charity which helped deprived children in London, later expanding its operations to Bristol and Liverpool.
In 2013, the year she received her honorary degree from the University of London, Camila received an MBE for her charity work and was listed as one of Britain’s most powerful women by the BBC. Known for her colourful dress sense and warm personality, Camila mixed in influential circles, and was dubbed the “Angel of Peckham” by the media. In 2015 she stepped down as Chief Executive when allegations were made about Kids Company, but a subsequent police investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing.
Camila’s tireless work for children was recognised when she was the recipient of the Centre of Social Justice’s Lifetime Achievement award and Liberty & JUSTICE’s Human Rights award. She was also named Ernst & Young and Coutts’ ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year’, Third Sector Magazine’s ‘Most Admired CEO’ and an End Child Poverty Action Group ‘Champion’.
Camila worked tirelessly to improve the lives of some of Britain’s most marginalised communities and will be sorely missed.