Lumir Lapray has always had a passion for learning and discourse. Growing up in a rural French village with a single mother, a middle school teacher, times were not always easy, but her mother’s determination and strength taught Lumir success was within reach. Lumir worked hard in school and became one of the first students to be admitted into Sciences Po Lyon, the east-central branch one of France’s most prestigious universities. The adjustment was difficult at first but Lumir slowly learned how to be proud of her community and background, something that led her to apply for a Humanity in Action Fellowship. Lumir has since been dedicated to using her education to “break barriers and push for positive change,” for her community and others. She founded OPTIMIST, the 1st student organization at Sciences Po Lyon to promote equal access to Higher Education for students from rural backgrounds, hoping to inspire others to believe in their dreams.
“I watched as my childhood friends had stayed behind, experiencing teen pregnancies, addiction, and even jail. This inspired me to use my story and education to break barriers and push for positive change in rural communities.”
Through Humanity in Action, Lumir was able to realize her ideas and turn them into initiatives for change during an exchange year at the University of California in Los Angeles. Her Action Project “We All Want Dignity, Period!” did just that. By organizing a feminine hygiene product drive, she collected over $1,500 worth of products and $1,000 in donations, enabling Lumir to aid the local Skidrow Women’s Shelter in Los Angeles. This project brought into focus the plight of homeless women and girls in the Los Angeles area, as well as raising awareness on feminine hygiene, a health issue often overlooked when discussing poverty and homelessness.
“I am grateful to have learned about ‘the way things really work,’ and now feel ready and equipped to join a movement through which our interests and social struggles converge to gain power and momentum.”
Lumir continued her studies at Sciences Po Lyon earning a joint master’s degree in Public and Urban Affairs and was then selected as a Humanity in Action Congressional Fellow in 2016. She served Rep. Juan Vargas from California, working on a portfolio of issues including financial services and labor, voting and women’s rights. Lumir now works as a consultant in Strategy for Tenzing Conseil, a consulting company operating as a social business. Her involvement with Humanity in Action is ongoing and she hopes to revive the French Humanity in Action community, helping students apply for Fellowships as well as organizing events to bring the French network closer together. As part of that, she also organized a Career Fair at the 2018 Strasbourg Conference. Bridging the gap between motivated young people and opportunities that will brighten their future inspires Lumir to keep working hard and encouraging others to do so, the same way her mother did for her.