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Former UEL student recognised for her outstanding work with street children in Turkey

east london and thames river

Havva Bademci's pioneering work shortlisted for Study UK Alumni Awards for former international students who studied in the UK

By Lee Pinkerton 

Former University of East London (UEL) student Havva Bademci has been shortlisted for a prestigious award in recognition of her pioneering work researching and supporting high-risk street children in her native Turkey.

Havva, who completed an MA in Psychoanalytic Observational Studies at UEL and the Tavistock Clinic in 2002, is a finalist in the Study UK Alumni Awards.

The awards are part of the Education is GREAT campaign, organised by the British Council, to celebrate the outstanding achievements of international alumni of UK universities and showcase the impact and value of a UK higher education

Award winners and finalists are leaders in their fields who have used their experience of studying in the UK to make a positive contribution to their communities, professions and countries. 

After gaining her UEL degree, Havva studied for a PhD at the University of Kent on the service provision for street children in Istanbul.

Her research thesis gave her the idea of establishing a centre for street children and she went on to become the founder and director of Maltepe University Research and Application Centre (SOYAÇ) in 2010.

SOYAÇ is the first research and application centre established at a university in Turkey to address the issues facing street children. It facilitates and supports projects to improve conditions for high-risk children and their families and conducts advocacy campaigns to raise awareness about street children.

Havva said, “I was very much inspired by the idea of applying psychoanalytic thinking in a non-clinical setting by using observation both as an application and research method.

“The infant and young child observation that I carried out at Tavistock helped me to understand not only the developmental trauma that all street children suffer from, but develop a novel approach.”

Bryony Inge, alumni campaign manager at the British Council, said, “It’s inspiring to hear how alumni are using their UK education experience to make a positive difference to their professions, communities and countries around the world.

“We had more than a thousand excellent nominations and selecting the finalists was difficult. They are a small representative of so many outstanding alumni doing amazing things, and they all deserve to be celebrated. These alumni are a credit to their universities and will serve as an inspiration to the next generation of international students.”

Havva’s award ceremony takes place in Turkey on 24 February, with other ceremonies also being held in 14 other countries, including Egypt, Greece, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and the USA