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Sangeetha, India

Hi, my name is Clara Sangeetha Alexander. I am 37, going on 38. I am from Bangalore, South India, but my language is Tamil, which is actually from Tamil Nadu, but I was born in Bangalore and from India.

Well, I finished my degree in economics, political science, and sociology and English honors and I was working for some time in stocks and share companies. I left India long back in 2004 to come to Northern Ireland, but before that I left India in 2000 to go abroad and travel for a little bit. I traveled to Sweden and Egypt and back to India, and Australia, and then I came to Northern Ireland.

Well, I wanted to serve God and go to the Belfast Bible College because my dad is an Anglican minister. So I came to study at the Belfast Bible College and that’s why I chose Northern Ireland. Or God chose Northern Ireland, I should say. My family came with me for some time, and then I stayed on because I met my husband, Mark Alexander and married, got married, and stayed on.

[How long have you lived in NI? ] Long time, 9 years now.

[Do you like living in NI?] Yes, I do. I have two words to epitomize my life here is the love of God, the love of the people, the love from the people that I receive, and my faith in God.

[What do you do here?] Well, I’m just a stay at home mom. I love cooking and making cupcakes and cooking curries, and just cleaning and looking after my daughter, which I think is my best privilege as a mom.

[How old is your daughter?] She is five years old.

[What’s her name?] Esther Alexander

[Is she in school?] Yes, she is.

Well, I brought something which cannot be seen but heard, and I am going to sing an ancient Tamil song and it’s called “Lord the Omnipotent, All-powerful, Omniscient, All-knowing, and Omnipresent, Present in the Sea, Present in the Land” and this is my privilege to sing to God. The Bible says faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love. As a migrant, I think every migrant would like to feel loved, accepted and appreciated in the country that they go to. And I too wanted to feel loved in the country that I came to, in Northern Ireland. And yes, I am different- my language is different, my color is different, my values are different, my culture is different. But love me anyway.

The next song I am going to sing is “You Must Love Me” by Madonna, from the movie Evita.

[Have you always enjoyed singing?] Yes, my name Sangeetha means music. I wanted to sing one song from my language which says my relationship to God and the omnipotence of God and the omnipresence of God and the omniscience of God … and the second song, I have love in my heart for all the people and I have received love from the people here, so thanksgivings for the love.

[Can you tell me about the beautiful dress you wore today?] This is called a sari, and people in India have different ways of wearing a sari. Sometimes the pilou, as it’s called, comes in the front or the side or different way. I am from south India, so I wear the pilou at the back. And the sari is an ancient, ancient Indian dress that for many many thousands of years they had in India.