Immigrating to the United States in October 2011, Marie found herself isolated and unsure of what opportunities were available to her while enduring her husband’s physical and psychological abuse. Marie found refuge in education and attended LaGuardia Community College but was forced to drop out by her husband in 2014. She was still determined to find ways to satisfy her desire to learn and find community. Marie discovered the Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership, which serves mothers and children in Harlem and where she joined a support group for French speakers in 2018. Thanks to this organization and the bonds she made with other members in her support group, Marie gained the courage to leave her husband and moved into a shelter with her daughter. She now attends Columbia University and as a survivor of domestic violence herself, is motivated to become a social worker to help end the code of silence surrounding domestic abuse in African immigrant communities. It is Marie’s ultimate goal to open a women’s center in the Bronx which will teach English language skills, financial literacy, and provide career coaching.


“I have dealt with many setbacks, but I think they represent a launchpad to propel my career choices and make me the best type of social worker—one who listens to others and embraces their dreams.” – Marie Danielle Dere