Imagine the excitement of a young woman moving to America to begin a life with her new spouse. Imagine her joy and anticipation to create a family. Imagine the opportunities stretched out before her.
But then he hits her.
He strikes away excitement and joy. And as quickly as the bruises begin to form, so does her anguish and fear.
She's all alone.
Marta, a young Rwandan immigrant, didn’t have to imagine this incident. Unfortunately, it was her reality.
Three years ago, she found herself all alone in a brand-new country with a newborn baby and no work visa. Although the life she imagined was taken away from her, Amoskeag Health helped her to build a new future. Suddenly, she wasn't alone anymore.
After placing a restraining order against her husband, Marta sought comfort at a domestic violence shelter through the YWCA. She was also receiving care at Amoskeag Health for her son Adrian. During his appointment, Dr. Keane noticed signs of domestic violence and food insecurity.
Because Amoskeag Health has an integrated model of care, we offer much more than a primary care visit. Dr. Keane carefully broached the subject of Marta’s situation and asked Marta if she needed help. Marta agreed and she was connected with Ethan, one of our case managers, that same day.
Ethan spent the next few months connecting Marta with state benefits like Medicaid and food stamps; helping her navigate legal assistance to begin her divorce; and writing a letter to the governor’s office to expedite her case to secure a work permit.
After Marta secured a full-time job in construction, Ethan talked with her about her career goals. Marta had earned her bachelor’s degree in hospitality when she lived in Rwanda; she speaks English, French, Swahili, and Kinyarwanda. Ethan explained some of her options in the United States and he helped her apply for a scholarship to go to school and receive her interpretation license.
As she went to school, worked, and cared for her son, Ethan continued helping Marta move out of the women’s shelter. After securing a temporary apartment through Families in Transition, he worked with Marta to apply for subsidized housing.
Today, Marta works as a case manager with stable income and housing. She has full custody of Adrian, and he is attending pre-school next year—hitting all of his milestones along the way! With the help of Amoskeag Health, she built a support system of co-workers and friends.
Marta’s strength and motivation gave her possibilities despite the obstacles she faced—now, she lives an independent and happy life in the United States.