Havva Ozden Bademci

Read the interview with Dr Havva Özden, Founder of an inspiring Centre for street Children.

  • From: Turkey
  • Studied: Masters in Psychoanalytic Observational Studies and PhD in Migration Studies
  • UK institution: University of East London and University of Kent

Dr Havva Özden Bademci is founder and director of Turkey’s first research and application centre dedicated to addressing issues facing street children. She was inspired to create the centre while studying in the UK.

  • What is soyac?

Maltepe University Research and Application Centre for Street Children (SOYAÇ) is the first research and application centre established at a university in Turkey to address the issues facing street children.

I founded SOYAC in 2010 after completing a Masters and PhD in the UK.

The organisation facilitates and supports projects to improve conditions for high risk children and their families. We do this by bringing academics and practitioners together for collaborative work, and by running advocacy and awareness campaigns. SOYAC is the only representative from Turkey in the Safe Families Safe Children international coalition for street children. 

  • How did studying in the uk influence the creation of soyac? 

My Masters in Psychoanalytic Observational Studies at the University of East London and Tavistock Clinic was critical to my career development and what I have achieved. The idea of establishing a centre for street children grew out of my time studying in the UK. 

Training at Tavistock was inspiring as their idea of using psychoanalytic thinking in a non-clinical setting – using observation as both a research and application method.

It also influenced the way I teach.

As a psychology lecturer, the courses I deliver, and the way I deliver them – incorporating field work with the theory – have been inspired by my UK education.

  • What is the impact of your work?

The research and application projects in collaboration with state-run care institutions and local authorities have undoubtedly improved the lives of children and families, and also service providers including correctional officers. 

While there have been changes in the way that Turkey addresses the protection of street children, there is still a lot to do. I collaborate with social workers, policy makers, clinicians and academics and my work has had national and international impact. I have had several papers published in respected scientific journals and in November 2011 I represented SOYAC, speaking in the House of Lords and House of Commons in London. 

SOYAC also attracts many foreign academics and students as trainees, so the advancements that we have made will surely continue.

Dr Havva Özden Bademci is the winner of the Study UK Alumni Award for Social Impact, Turkey 2017.

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