We are pleased and proud to announce that our CEO and Co-founder, Rachel Bentley, has been awarded the OBE in this year’s Queen’s birthday honours, for services to the protection and education of marginalised children worldwide.
Her appointment as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) is in recognition of over thirty years of work with some of the world’s most overlooked children, and has been awarded as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
Together with the late Dame Anita Roddick, Rachel co-founded Children on the Edge in response to the Romanian orphanage crisis in 1990. At this time, they drove past the areas where agencies were already operating, up into remote villages where children were unreached. This became the theme of Rachel’s unique impact over the next three decades, and through her leadership of the Children on the Edge to this day, she has dedicated herself to seeking out and supporting those children who are unnoticed and overlooked.
The OBE is the second highest ranking Order of the British Empire award and is given to individuals who have made major contributions at a local level, or whose work has gained a national profile. Due to the nature of Rachel’s international work, her award came via the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office.
Leading the organisation for over 31 years, Rachel has worked with her team to raise over £20,000,000 of funds and to pioneer more than 30 community-led programmes in 18 countries. This work has provided education, care and support for tens of thousands of marginalised children, living in some of the toughest situations in the world.
Work supported by Rachel has focused on areas including the deinstitutionalisation of children, support for children in post crisis situations, strengthening child protection for communities facing poverty and discrimination, and creating access to quality education for refugee children.
Stuart Gallimore, Chair of Trustees at Children on the Edge and former Director of Children’s Services in East Sussex says, “Rachel has worked tirelessly to develop the charity in a way that is true to its name, never choosing the easy route but working in those areas that others have either forgotten or rushed into and departed just as quickly, leaving little in the way of legacy behind.This award is going to one of life’s unsung heroes, one of those who has made a massive difference to those touched by the work of the charity she so ably leads, massively respected by those in her field yet unknown to many. That is surely what the awards process is all about”.
Rachel is a resident of Chichester, West Sussex, where the Children on the Edge offices are also based. To find out more about the work Rachel has led since 1990, read about our history.