Kids company project

Kids company project

Luke Fear

Copy producer, johnlewis.com

We've teamed up with Kids Company to create an exclusive partnership producing a new range of clothing. Kids Company provides practical, emotional and educational support to over 36,000 vulnerable inner city children and young people.

We kick off the collection designed by Kids Company children with a range of T-shirts, onesies and totes which will make perfect Christmas presents. Keep an eye out for new and exciting designs available in the New Year.

 
 
Kids Company Penguin Long Sleeved Top

...now I can believe that anything can happen

Kyle aged 9

 

Working together, the John Lewis and Kids Company teams ran art workshops in inner city schools giving children the opportunity to create their own designs, utilising the colours and themes for the season. From these creative sessions, a gorgeous range of products were designed by kids for kids.

The children couldn't quite believe that their drawings would feature on clothing. In the words of some of the children:

"I didn't believe that they really would be made into real clothes and now I can believe that anything can happen"
…Kyle aged 9

"I felt butterflies when they told me they were going to take the designs away to choose which ones would be made into clothes. I couldn't believe it"
…Emma aged 8

We spoke to Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder of Kids Company, about this range of products and the work that the charity does with inner city children.


Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your career before the Kids Company?
Working with vulnerable children is a sense of vocation for me. In my early 20s I founded my first children's charity, Place 2 Be which is now a national organisation. And in 1996 I went on to found Kids Company.

When did you decide to set up Kids Company and what drove you to do this? When my team and I opened the doors of Kids Company, lots of very troubled children and young people made their way to us and I soon discovered that they had all been chronically maltreated as toddlers. This was because the majority of them had parents who themselves were struggling with the damage caused by their own disturbed childhoods. We were out of our depth and didn't have any money, but the kids and the staff developed faith in each other and collectively we ended up creating an amazing community; committed to giving children the love they need to achieve some mastery over their psychological traumas.

Can you tell us the primary focus and objectives that the Kids Company hopes to achieve? Our dream at Kids Company is that the adult world resumes the responsibility of providing safety and care for violated children.

Too many children at Kids Company educational centre have seen or experienced terrible violence and we want to make sure children are cared for so they can feel safe and flourish.

How does your organisation help the children you work with? Our centres are a sanctuary for vulnerable children and young people, a safe place where they are welcomed and allocated a keyworker who will take care of them. Our service is tailored to each child. This may be anything from taking children to the doctors, buying essential clothing, providing warm meals right through to offering one to one therapy. We also have an education and work programme for young people who have been too traumatised to settle in a mainstream environment.

What do the children mean to you? Every day I am inspired by the children's courage, their struggle to retain dignity and their extraordinary capacity to forgive. They are some of the most admirable people I've ever had the privilege of meeting and I love them very profoundly, and unconditionally.

What makes you proud? I am filled with pride when I see the children achieve so much of their potential, going on to university and into jobs. But I also have profound respect for those who overcome their natural sense of revenge, and who go on to become loving and nurturing parents to their own children.

How do projects such as the collaboration with John Lewis help the children and the charity? This project is an amazing boost for the children. In having their designs sold at John Lewis, the children's sense of worth is reaffirmed and bridges are generated from the ghettoes to the heart.

What does the future hold? Where would you like to see the Kids Company in 5 years? Ideally I would like to see the learning from Kids Company replicated wherever there are communities of vulnerable children.

For every item sold, 10% of the selling price will go back to the charity and children involved in this special project.