My Story

MY STORY

“Breaking the cycle of abuse, from Providence to Madagascar”

– The Boston Globe

CR: DAVID L. RYAN/GLOBE STAFF

MY STORY

“Breaking the cycle of abuse, from Providence to Madagascar”

– The Boston Globe

CR: DAVID L. RYAN/GLOBE STAFF

The Beginning

I grew up all my life in Madagascar and came to the USA in 2014.

Back home, while doing my internship at the Union of Professionals Graduates in Social Work (SPDTS), I learned about domestic violence. I was shocked to witnessed that in my country, many women are helpless, dis-empowered or injured due to a lack of education and misinformation. The only form of abuse that I knew of at that time was physical abuse.

My field of study, Psychology, was determined by several factors, including my childhood experiences and my curious, observant and empathetic nature. The book What is Happening in Me by Isabelle Filliozat introduced me to the science of psychology. I became fascinated in learning about emotions and strategies to help people feel better about themselves and others. Reading about human psychology and physiology became my passion. By the time I was enrolled in college, I found myself applying information from my readings toward understanding and supporting my peers.

Once I arrived in the USA, I enrolled at the Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) and decided to work as a Sexual Assault Peer Educator. I learned that domestic violence is not restricted to physical abuse. Domestic violence often begins with emotional and psychological abuse and gradually increases to violent physical abuse. Psychological abuse is very subtle and is usually the most pervasive form of abuse. This job has allowed me to participate in an educational effort that has impacted more than a thousand students on campus. Through classroom visits, workshops and interactive experiences, I presented material on sexual assault and consent, alcohol and substance abuse, healthy relationships and domestic violence to students, who are now better able to detect red flags in relationships, report incidents, and reach out to community resources.

Social Entrepreneurship

My work as a social entrepreneur started with the Clinton Foundation. I was selected as a commitment maker for the Clinton Global Initiative: Ending Domestic violence in Madagascar.

Since then, I have founded Omena, an organization that originally was aimed at teaching young Malagasy children and adolescents how they can recognize emotional abuse in their relationships. Omena has since grown to become a movement stretched across the globe, beyond the borders of Madagascar or the United States.

An avid learner, I have loved being invited and going to conferences to speak at different events, inspiring young college students to pursue their passion.

Currently

Currently, I am a Peer Entrepreneur in Residence (PEIR) as well as a Teaching Assistant in Social Entrepreneurship and Leadership in changing businesses at Brown University.

I am also a social innovation Fellow at SEG.