A few days after Ma Yan hears that her family cannot afford to continue her education past fifth grade, Pierre Haski, the French journalist, visited her village. After seeing the diaries, Haski promised that he would help her continue school then go to a university or even further than that.
Needless to say, after the publication of her diaries, Mao Yan continued on to middle school along with lots of attention from the media.
Ma Yan says that most of the media asked her about her experience at school and she wanted to tell them what it was like so the world would hear of the other poor children that wanted to go to school longer.
Because of that media attention, the students at her elementary and middle schools received offers of help.
That outpouring of interest led to the founding of Children of Ningxia, which will soon celebrate its tenth anniversary. The Children of Ningxia reports that the nonprofit has reached out to more than 2,500 students, scholarships to more than 150 and fourteen have finished their university studies since 2009.
China’s government also abolished school fees through ninth grade but many remote, rural families still struggle to pay for boarding fees.
One student, who is still in school, said she would have been doing farm work if it hadn’t been for Children of Ningxia.
As the Al Jazeera segment of Ma Yan’s Story ends, I thought of the billion people living in poverty around the world. Less than 10% of those people live in China and this story is only of a few of those people.
Return to Ma Yan’s Story – Part 1
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