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Sunderie Lurati Lama

GUA: Sunderie Lurati-Lama

Can you share a bit about your professional journey and the experiences that led you to where you are today?

Well, my professional journey isn’t like the usual ones, but I would say that it’s part of who I am and it definitely led me where I am today.

In 2017 I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. I was sixteen at the time and I was juggling between my studies, my adolescence, and my handicap. After a long reflection, in 2019 I had to take the decision to stop my studies for obvious reasons, I needed to heal before going forward in my life.

In August 2021 when I was back on my feet, I left my hometown Marseille, France for Dublin, Ireland.

I left my parents and friends, at the airport. My comfort place, and the sun for the unknown, the rain, and the challenge of my life!

I moved there for a year volunteering in an association that takes care of elderly people and fights against loneliness. Part of a French programme called "Service Civique", the idea is to give young people the opportunity to develop personal skills while doing volunteer work abroad or in France.

During my "Service Civique", I had the chance to meet people from everywhere in the world between the volunteers, the members and the customers of the charity shop. There I met Caroline G.Schroeder, we were working together and we became friends. She’s the type of person that you only met once in your life, and she helped me to be who I am today.

After my volunteer service work I moved back to Marseille for a few months, but something was missing, so I booked a ticket without return to be officially in Dublin forever.

In May 2023, Caroline contacted me, I was looking for a job and GUA needed some help, so I went there and I had the best welcome that I could wish for. I’ve done a few missions for them since and in February 2024 I became an official part of the team. It was my dream to work again and with them, and I’m glad and blessed of this journey.

Who are some women who have inspired or influenced you in your life/ career, and what qualities do you admire in them?

I’ve always been surrounded by women in my life, I would say that my mother inspired me for the woman that I am now. We have a deep and true bond together, when I was younger she was a mother but now that I’m older and I’m building my life she’s still a mother but she’s a true friend too.

She always inspired me by her life choices, her own beliefs, and her extravagant fashion style.

Back in her youth she left France for Reunion Island when she was the same age as me, so the idea of me leaving and living my life in another country wasn’t a problem for her. She finally became a social worker in a care home for children who were sent by a judge. She wanted to work with those whose voices, voices she firmly believes are not being heard.

A few years later she left for the trip of her life, she went to Nepal and there she met my father.

I admire her confidence, she always went for the things that she wanted, she’s still taking care of my grandmother, she’s still working with children of a young age and a tough life, she truly loves life, an inspiration.

What are some of your proudest achievements in your life so far, and did you have to overcome any challenges to get there?

My proudest achievement is my "Service Civique". I arrived in Ireland with nothing except my luggage. It was a challenge because back then I was really shy and this experience helped me to open myself to others and to accept myself. I had no friends, or family in Ireland so I had no choice but to talk to the others. Helping the elderly helped me too cause taking care of them made me realise in a certain way they were taking care of me. I am thinking of one particular lady I would visit every week, she showed me the city, we went to museums and I learned so much from her.

I’m just proud of my journey, and I believe that it was meant to be, I’ve grown up so fast because of Dublin and the people that I met on my path!

Outside of your professional life, what skills or passions do you bring into the workplace that might not be immediately apparent?

I’ve always been attracted to art since a young age, I’m a Photographer, still more amateur than professional, but that’s the point of a passion, it has to live within you, so I don’t need to be exposed in a gallery to continue doing what I love.

I love writing, it’s a good way to express yourself and it's a good tool. Most of the time you don’t need answers, you just need to leave things in a place like a notebook.

And finally, I love music, I enjoy discovering music from everywhere in the world, and I learned so much from people with music. My playlist is filled with Kishore Khumar, The Smiths, Barbara, Seu Jorge …

My best interactions are around music, and I love the power of music cause it's the same sound for everyone but everybody takes things for themselves from their sensibility or life. It’s like another language.

As we celebrate International Women's Day, is there a particular message or theme that resonates with you, or any specific way you'd like to see the workplace promoting gender equality and empowerment?

“Pour se croire faut il encore être cru”, that’s a sentence part of the speech of Judith Godrèche during the Césars of 2024. The meaning is “To believe oneself, one must still be believed”, this message resonates with me because she’s an example for millions of woman who were abused in any way in their life. The power of words always mesmerises me and she spoke for those who talk and for those who can’t. The fight for the voices to be heard has always been a huge fight and it still is, I’m just proud of being a woman and I’m proud of those who can speak for others.

It’s a problem that has always existed but back in the days we couldn’t talk about it by taboo or just nonbelieving, we still have a lot to do,but I believe that one day everybody will be heard.