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MSW, Domestic Violence, Children, Africa

I come from Cameroon in Africa. I both witnessed and suffered domestic violence in my home, a situation which, unfortunately, is not uncommon generally in the society from which I come.

I recognized early in life that the situations that I and my mother and siblings suffered and, also saw in other households around us, were unnatural. Many of us were living lives of fear and near hopelessness and I decided that this could not go on unchecked and that I might be a channel of change.

Even as a child, I wanted to ‘do something’ about these widespread and unhappy conditions and, as I grew up and discovered that there existed a whole profession dedicated to the eradication of domestic conflict and fear, I determined to join it. I found enormous satisfaction in my work to date in the field of social work in my home country and seek now to acquire advanced skills and knowledge to enable me to do more to assist those in need. I also hope to help in the training of less experienced and qualified social workers to enable them to provide the very best service of which they are capable.

 In my country, domestic abuse is almost universally ‘male on female’ because of historical cultural norms. I have undertaken a significant amount of private study in social work in this country and in the matter of domestic abuse in particular. It initially came as a surprise to me that in the US, domestic abuse is also suffered by men and that sometimes the abusers are women applying passive- aggressive modes of ‘attack’. I recognise that I shall need to be ‘open-minded’ to cultural differences in dealing with situations of domestic unhappiness and claims of abuse by the parties involved in this country and that cultural backgrounds will be a factor to closely consider. I am very interested in furthering the aims of the profession by assisting in research, particularly in the area of community mental health.

After graduating from the school of social work in Cameroon, Africa with a diploma in social work, I did a six months voluntary work in the Social Work Department of Family and Child welfare. I provided counselling in cases of domestic violence within families, child abandonment, child support, child placement, child abuse, and cases of incest, among others. After my voluntary period, I was to be offered a full time counselling job in same Delegation. However I decided to come to the US.

I have been employed, for nearly six years, in a Rehabilitation Hospital as a Certified Nurse Assistant. Almost all our patients need some kind of practical help, most because of their disabilities. For example a patient might be homeless and/or unemployed and need place to go after discharge, or be in need of other assistance such as medical, help with social security claims, food, clothing, or assistance to help them at home by home support services. My heart is very often moved by patients struggling with one or other such situation and I now seek to help people like them in having their basic needs met swiftly and sufficiently and in having clients feel that society cares what happens to them. I recently passed the written examination to qualify me to work as a Medical Case Worker. I hold a BA degree in Psychology which I pursued with the intention of seeking a Master’s in Social Work.

During my voluntary work in Africa, I succeeded in changing some lives for the better and felt enormous satisfaction from doing so. In one case I recall, I advocated for a wheel chair for one of my nineteen years old client, who was suffering from cerebral palsy. This boy was brought to the office where I was doing my voluntary job, and my supervisor gave me the case to handle. His Mother was a single mother, his Father died from a car accident when this boy was seven years old. So his mother was suffering with him all by herself. This mother brought her nineteen years old son carrying him on her back. This family was advised by a school teacher to go ask for help from the Social welfare office, that is how she got to the office. The second case which stands out in my memory, was a domestic violence victim, whose husband kept battering her because she was not helping the family financially. I helped look for a job for her where she worked like a baby sitter for a day care centre. After two months this family came back to the social welfare office, happily her husband said their live had changed. I continue rendering helping services right here in America. That is why I work at the rehabilitation hospital where I have opportunities to render help to patients even if, sometimes, it is just to give a smile, squeeze a hand and provide a sympathetic ear.

I am aware of the core values of social work in the US; I fully endorse them and would seek to apply them at all times in my future work. Unfortunately, during my work in Africa, I witnessed some of the pitfalls into which social workers can fall. Some clearly placed their own needs and convenience before that of the clients and some had become cynical and hardened and had lost their initial enthusiasm and commitment. Several were more interested in just ‘making a living’ rather than ‘making a difference’ in their clients’ lives.

In such a uniquely valuable profession, I recognize the absolute need for agreed and comprehensive core values and recognize that those adopted are essential in the proper performance of a social worker’s daily duties.  I should certainly seek to keep them constantly in my mind’s eye and to measure all my professional actions against them on a daily basis and to rapidly adjust my actions in case of any ‘falling short’.

In my experience, as a black woman with what might be perceived as an unusual accent, in this country, overt discrimination on any grounds is fairly rare and generally dealt with appropriately where established to have occurred. However, most discrimination is not overt but is exercised in subtle but nevertheless in very real ways and there is still a very strong need to educate people to recognise the ‘other’ no matter how, or how far, ‘different’ should in every circumstance, be treated as an individual of unique worth. I also recognise that members of minority groups are not, themselves, immune from pre-judging people who do not share their race or are otherwise different from themselves and so the need for education is not limited to majorities in any community that I have observed, though that need may not be so obvious or urgent in terms of needs of addressing.

I have also observed the unfortunate fact that those who might seek to subtly discriminate against members of another, ‘different’ group, will almost always have similar feelings towards another minority or other minorities. I think that it is necessary to recognize that in historical terms, we are still in the early days of getting people to recognise their own capacity to pre-judge and discriminate. Although great strides have been taken, one cannot destroy discrimination solely by legislative means but ‘hearts’ must be changed. Much research and work remains to be done, in a very complex area, to achieve and extend this end and I look forward to doing my part to assist in achieving this desirable goal of people valuing all other people, to some extent at least.


The effects of discrimination are as varied as those who suffer them. They may be manifested in ‘giving up’ on one’s education because everyone around one has done so, in failing to pursue and achieve the achievable because one’s self-image has been formed by those who regard you as being of low worth.

Certainly, I believe that the task of building up feelings of self-worth must begin as soon as possible in the lives of those who are disadvantaged by financial or other constraints. There exists a need for successful role models to ‘step forward’ and encourage those who need to overcome substantial obstacles in their own lives and to demonstrate that one’s minority or disadvantaged status does not prescribe the kind of life one has to lead.

Before seeking to enter the profession, I carefully considered the qualities required of an excellent social worker and genuinely believe that I possess them and have sought to demonstrate them in my volunteer service and work to date.  I have a genuine desire to help people and to assist them in helping themselves, I am a very good listener, I have determination, I am patient, I relate well to others, I have a creative approach to problem solving, and, not least, I have a sense of humor. I am also aware of the importance of being sensitive to non-verbal signals especially when supporting children and distressed adults. I know that social work calls for a very high degree of cultural awareness and sensitivity. I have lived in two very different cultures and have happily studied, worked and socialized with people of many different cultural and social backgrounds during my voluntary service, work and academic career.

I know that those coming from outside the ‘caring professions’ sometimes harbor unrealistic expectations of the effect of such work. From my experience, I know that a realistic outcome might not be the perfect one but that the most realistic outcome should be established as soon as possible and pursued with determination and flexibility.

I believe that my personal background and experience of dealing with extremely distressing situations in Africa, together with my personal characteristics, academic achievements from an unpromising start and my passion to help others provides me with an excellent basis to serve as an outstanding social worker in the US and to advance the core values of the profession. I look forward to ‘adding value’ by sharing my unique perspective with others on the program and to profiting from their varied life and work experiences.

Thank you for considering my application.


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For almost two decades now, I have supported myself and my family by helping applicants to graduate school draft eloquent and highly effective admission statements for degree programs BSW, MSW, DSW; and PHD. I am convinced that I have talent in this area as a bleeding heart, myself, a militant for healing and a lifelong learner; it is the stories of social workers that most intrigue me. Working on behalf of social workers keeps my heart engaged as well as my brain. 

With My Son Davy!