Luis Miguel, 18, is in his first year of college, after having graduated with honors from high school in El Espino. He is studying business administration at the National University of El Salvador. He lives at home in El Espino with his mother, a domestic worker and his younger sister. His grandmother comes to stay and care for them when she is able. Luis Miguel wakes up by 5:30am each day so he can leave home by 6:10 and set off on the 45-minute walk to school, where classes begin at 7:15.
We asked Luis to answer a few questions to get to know him better. Below are his responses!
Why do you think your education is important?
Because I want to better my surroundings, my country, and myself. Being able to change our country begins with each one of us and I want to make a difference.
Describe someone who has inspired or motivated you:
My mother inspires me with her strength, perseverance, and the way she’s been able to overcome the most difficult moments in life. Financially and morally speaking, she’s helped me a lot and I want to do well for her.
How has the crime/violence in this country affected you personally?
My educational opportunities have been cut down because of the crime. Gang members target you simply because you live in a certain area. I’ve been robbed in the street and they instill this fear in you that makes you scared to even go out. I can’t have a girlfriend or friends who live in an area controlled by a gang that rivals the gangs in my area.
How do you think positive change can come about in your community or country?
First and foremost, by not joining the gangs. We need to change our way of thinking and realize that we don’t need violence to make things better. Children must be brought up in a positive way.
Tell us about your community service project.
I’m working with other scholarship students on a small vegetable garden. It’s important to me because I’m learning new things and making new friends.
What do you do in your free time?
I watch TV, listen to music, and get on Facebook.
What is your favorite book or genre?
“Dolor de Patria” and “Luciérnagas en el Mozote,” which is about the Salvadoran civil war.
What is your favorite music?
I like electronica music, bachata, reggae, heavy metal, Spanish rap, and pop.
What are your best qualities?
I am perseverant, open-minded, and I don’t mix my personal problems in with my other activities.