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Working for the Children

“ One of the most important things for me was the fact that the PhD program allowed me to take research, advanced analysis and substantive area courses in other schools, providing interdisciplinary exposure.”
Shraddha Prabhu, School of Social Work Student
Mumbai, Maharashtra in India

How Shraddha Prabhu is fulfilling the need for better research to help children in need through UB's School of Social Work

During her undergraduate studies, Shraddha Prabhu read a book that changed the course of her college career. The book was Cries Unheard by Gitta Sereny and it addressed such potent issues as violence against children, juvenile justice and social responsibility. Shraddha immediately felt motivated to advocate for better services and effective policies in order to improve the standard of living for children of low-income families.

“During my graduate work, I realized the importance of and need for better research in the area of children in need,” said Shraddha, who had also worked with various non-profit organizations in Mumbai. “Research is important in developing solutions and policies that are both informative and effective.” In hopes of continuing her education after graduate school, Shraddha began looking at different universities in the United States. A friend, who was attending another institution at the time, mentioned the University at Buffalo (UB). Shraddha researched UB’s School of Social Work and was impressed by a variety of factors. “One of the most important things for me,” she says, “was the fact that the PhD program allowed me to take research, advanced analysis and substantive area courses in other schools, providing interdisciplinary exposure.”

Shraddha is currently conducting her PhD dissertation research study on the exposure to violence, presence of trauma symptoms, and factors promoting resilience among children living in two red-right districts in Mumbai. According to Shraddha, many red-light areas in India are not exclusive commercial-sex districts. Rather, they are low-income communities that house brothels along-side regular family homes. The children and youth living in those areas face extraordinary violence and risks in their daily lives. Shraddha credits her time at UB for allowing her to hone her skills as a social work researcher, so that she can help these children.

“Their living conditions are inhumane, they are witness to exploitation on a regular basis and their right to development with dignity among other rights is highly compromised,” she explains. “My primary and most important motivation is that the scholarship I am producing will be a significant contribution to the field, and can be used for advocacy for better services and more effective policies to improve the standard of living for vulnerable children.”