Xiomara Margarita, 22, recently graduated from the†Universidad Catůlica de El Salvador with an†Advanced Technical Certificate in Tourism Development. Currently, she is looking for a job where she can use her degree. Sheís also planning on returning to school as soon as possible to obtain a degree in English or an Associateís Degree.

Why do you think your education is important?

My education is important because it enables me to learn new things and acquire new skills. Iíll get a better job in line with my education and, because of what Iíve already learned, Iíll be able to help my family and community in a positive way.

Describe someone who has inspired or motivated you:

One of my former math teachers, Pedro, always motivated his students to continue our education. My ďmomĒ Anna Maria motivates me right alongside my real mother. I remain dedicated to my goals thanks to these three people. And, of course, Iím thankful to God for helping and watching over me.

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

It has affected me a lot because seeing people die is really painful. Families are suffering for having lost loved ones. Itís painful to watch kids disappear into the dark world of crime. They become blinded and go down the wrong path. Only God has the right to take someoneís life because it is he who has given it to us. It hurts to see all the crime happening right now in El Salvador and more people are dying every day. It all affects me because when people leave their homes, they leave in fear. But, when Iím at home, I ask God to watch over and protect me from all the bad.

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

Some positive things would be to offer people more employment opportunities, hold workshops about education, and educate people about serious problems. Increased safety is very important as well.

Tell us about your community service project.

Iím working [with other scholarship students] on a backyard†vegetable garden. Itís important to nourish the earth and to have access to healthy food.

What do you do in your free time?

When I do have free time, I play soccer. But apart from that, I really donít have much free time because I do my homework, take care of my house and cook, as well as other things at home to help my mom.

What is your favorite book or genre?

ďLove if You CanĒ by Roberto Shinyashiki.

What is your favorite music?

I like music in English, like romantic songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s.

What are your best qualities?

Iím caring, friendly, empathetic, social and understanding.

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

Truthfully, I have a temper, but I donít show it. Also, I wanted to study English, and I still will.

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

ďThank you so much for the support that you give me because it helps me so much with my studies.Ē