This profile was prepared when Camila Batmanghelidjh was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2007.
The New Idea
Traditional family and neighborhood child-rearing and protection networks in the U.K. have collapsed, leaving the most vulnerable children without the care and support they need to recover from abuse and neglect. As state service provision has become increasingly siloed and increasingly likely to apportion blame on children themselves, services have worsened and children’s needs have gone unaddressed. In response, Camila is creating a holistic model of support for children within schools and on the streets that is founded on the belief in nurturing always, and on addressing the psychological needs of children as a critical step towards full healing. Camila works within schools in extremely low-income neighborhoods where an overwhelming number of children have faced trauma caused by neglect, abuse, or violence in the community. She provides them and their families with medical, social, psychological, legal, and other services through participatory activities that create a nurturing environment that attracts continued participation. Camila then works with violent and abused street children and establishes safe street centers through which she implements her model to heal and reintegrate them into society. Next, Camila works with research centers, child care specialists, and the media to transform the current negative paradigms towards troubled children that have led to ineffective policies and inappropriate child care. She demonstrates scientifically that traumatized children are physiologically affected by neglect and violence, and that they can be cured by a nurturing approach.