Ligia Daniela, 27, is a seventh-year journalism student at the National University of El Salvador and is the first in her family to go to college. She lives at home with her mother, stepfather, two sisters, and small nephew. She chose journalism as her major because she wants to “show the world the reality of her country and of other places in the world that suffer from inequality and injustice.” Her older sister has a small beauty salon in the capital city, San Salvador. Her younger sister graduated from high school alongside Ligia but has not been able to continue her studies because of the economic hardship in the family. Ligia wants to graduate and get a good job so that she can help put her sister through college.

Ligia stays at her sister’s home in San Salvador during the week to be closer to the university for classes. Her schedule for this school years consists of late afternoon classes three days a week. On the weekends, she returns home to El Espino to help around the house and to help her mother sell coconuts after mass on Sunday mornings.

Ligia had to drop out of school after 9th grade so that her sister, who is two years younger, could continue her secondary education. When she heard that the FCE was starting a scholarship program in the community, she finally saw a way to finish her education. Ligia was one of the first three students to receive an FCE scholarship. She attended a three-year technical high school program in a neighboring city and specialized as an Accounting Assistant. She is now the “oldest” in the scholarship program and a leader among her peers.

We asked Ligia to answer a few questions to help you get to know her better. Below are her responses!

What are some of your professional aspirations?

To work as a reporter on TV.

Why do you think your education is important?

My education is important for the economic and social development of my family and, consequently, my community. My country can develop a more competitive edge through the education of its people.

Describe someone who has inspired or motivated you:

My mother, because in spite of the all difficulties we’ve faced, she raised us well and showed us that everything in life has its price; life isn’t easy. However, she has pushed us forward despite the sacrifices she’s had to make for my sisters and me. She motivates me to keep moving forward with my studies. She inspires me to be a good person.

How has the crime/violence in this country affected you personally?

I can no longer walk freely through the streets of my community. There is a sense of panic here–panic about being out at night, panic about not being able to get a bus at night. Likewise, we can’t leave the doors open at home; instead, we must shut ourselves in completely. Also, there’s the psychological damage that comes from knowing there is no place where you can feel safe and secure.

How do you think positive change can come about in your community or country?

The government should deploy more security forces to the most violent areas. Also, creating campaigns directed at those involved in gangs would be worthwhile.

What is your community service project?

I work with the Clean Water project, which involves visiting the houses that have received filters that the delegations donate to make sure that they are using them correctly. Sometimes we even have to clean them. We schedule presentations at the school to speak to students about the benefits of the filters and at the end we prepare a written report for the program. It’s not only important to me, but personally satisfying as well because I know I am contributing to the health of the people who have those filters in their homes.

What do you do in your free time?

I exercise, watch TV, and listen to music.

What is your favorite book or genre?

“El Grito del Más Pequeño,” “The Alchemist,” and any novel by Edgar Allan Poe. I like history as well as literature about social issues and problems.

What is your favorite music?

Salsa, bachata, ballads in English and rock (but nothing too heavy).

What are your best qualities?

I’m responsible, honest, punctual, organized, observant, focused and cooperative. I’m also good at saving money.

What is something surprising about you that only a few people know?

I’m not good at lying.

What would you say if you could speak face-to-face with your sponsors?

Well, I would tell him that he has a good heart and love for others because not everyone has the huge heart and kindness that he has. Because even though I haven’t met him except through photographs, he has placed his trust in me. And without a doubt, I will do the same for someone else someday because he has taught me how important and beautiful it is to help others in need of an angel, like he is to me. I would also tell him that I am doing everything possible to get good grades because it would not be fair for me not to do my best when there is someone out there who wants me to succeed. There are so many people that wish they could have someone help them and don’t have that, but I do, so why wouldn’t I do my best? I would also tell him that I am very grateful and I hope to meet him in person one day.