Evelyn, 19, is in her second year of college at the Universidad Católica de El Salvador where she is pursuing an Advanced Technical Certificate in Tourism Development. She lives at home with her mother, a homemaker, two older brothers, older sister, younger brother, and younger sister. Like her peers who also attend college in the capital of San Salvador, she wakes up before dawn most mornings to catch a series of buses into the city.
Evelyn had originally hoped to pursue a career in nursing, but the financial hardship for her family would have been too great. But she says, “I don’t regret it because even though at first it was really hard to adapt, it has allowed me to visit truly beautiful places in my country that I’d never been before. I can say that I love it now.”
We asked Evelyn to answer a few questions to help you get to know her better. Below are her responses!
Why do you think your education is important?
My education is important because it’s a means through which I can become a better person in the future. It’s also because of my education that I’ll become a professional and hopefully be able to make my parents and godparents proud.
Describe someone who has inspired or motivated you:
My mom has always supported my and helped me with school. She’s been there to see me through all the difficulties I’ve faced in life. She guides me and serves as a great example because, in spite of all the difficulties she’s faced, she keeps moving forward, fighting for my siblings and me and looking for ways to help us succeed. I remember one time when I had a problem that was making me feel bad and she told me I shouldn’t let that hold me back; that I had to keep moving forward. She is the best mother in the world.
How has the crime/violence in this country affected you personally?
It’s affected me a lot. I live in a state of torment, scared that when I leave my house, I might not come back. I can’t live peacefully, as bad things are happening from one moment to the next. The violence is affecting young people more than anything. Sometimes it feels like a crime just to be a young person today; we are the ones who are threatened, killed, etc.
How do you think positive change can come about in your community or country?
If young people were to focus on school and if they had positive hopes and dreams and aspirations to work toward, they wouldn’t get involved with the gangs.
Tell us about your community service project.
I’m working on a backyard vegetable garden with some of the other scholarship students. It’s important to me because I’m learning how to grow fruits and vegetables. Also, it’s healthier because we aren’t using [chemical] fertilizers.
What do you do in your free time?
I like to play soccer and spend time with friends.
What is your favorite book or genre?
I like romantic novels like “Amalia” by José Mármol.
What is your favorite music?
Bachata and romantic music.
What are your best qualities?
I’m friendly, respectful, studious, understanding, caring, responsible, sociable, and I like to help people.
What would you say if you could speak face-to-face with your sponsors?
If I had the chance to talk to my sponsor, I would thank her for giving me the opportunity to be a part of her family and I would give her a big hug.