Eliza, 19, is a third year English major at the Universidad Modular Abierta in San Salvador. She lives at home with her mother, two older sisters, and younger sister. Her extended family lives in two small homes that share a common kitchen and bathroom area with Eliza’s house. Eliza is awake by 4am. every weekday so she can leave home at 4:30, take the public bus to campus and arrive for class at 6:30. Once her school day finishes at noon, Eliza heads back home to help her mother around the house, then works diligently on homework until crawling into bed around 10pm.
We asked Eliza to answer a few questions to help you get to know her better. Below are her responses!
What are some of your professional aspirations?
I want to graduate with a degree in English and work in a prestigious national bank where there is plenty of opportunity to move up the ranks.
Why do you think your education is important?
My education is important because, through it, I’ll be able to help lift my family and my country out of poverty, and become a valuable part of society.
Describe someone who has inspired or motivated you:
My mom and my sisters have always encouraged me to keep studying, telling me that I’m very intelligent and I shouldn’t give up. They continue encouraging me to this day.
How has the crime/violence in this country affected you personally?
It’s affected me a lot because I can no longer go far from the university alone. I’ve been assaulted a few times on the bus and robbed of my cell phone and money. When that happened I had to borrow money from a friend to be able to eat until I got home. In addition, there is a lot of death in the community of El Espino. Every day, we live with the fear of knowing that something bad could happen to any one of us. The worst part is that many of my friends have died at the hands of gang members.
How do you think positive change can come about in your community or country?
The only way there will be peace in our country is if all the children, as well as adults, become involved in church and get to know Jesus Christ. Then, we will have peace in El Salvador and around the world.
Tell us about your community service project.
I am working [with some of the other scholarship students] on backyard vegetable garden. It’s important to me because we are learning to grow our own healthy food without the use of harmful fertilizers and are therefore protecting the environment.
What do you do in your free time?
I don’t have much free time but when I do, I help my mom and listen to music.
What is your favorite book or genre?
My favorite book is “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen.
What is your favorite music?
I like rock ballads from the 80s and 90s.
What are your best qualities?
I’m understanding and I enjoy listening to others.
What is something surprising about you that only a few people know?
Even though I appear to be brave, I am very quick to cry.
What would you say if you could speak face-to-face with your sponsors?
“I would tell her that to me she is a person that is very important and very loved. I would tell her that I am very grateful for the support that she gives me and I would ask her what her reason was for deciding to help people that are in need. I would tell her ‘God bless her’ for all of her help and also that she has a lovely, beautiful, and huge heart, full of love and concern for others.”