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The Diary of Ma Yan: The Life of a Chinese School Girl

by Ma Yan Pierre Haski

Wednesday, November 7. My father gave me and my brother a little money. My stomach is all twisted up with hunger, but I don't want to spend the money on anything as frivolous as food. Because it's money my parents earn with their sweat and blood. I have to study well so that I won't ever again be tortured by hunger. . . . In a drought-stricken corner of rural China, an education can be the difference between a life of crushing poverty and the chance for a better future. But money is scarce, and the low wages paid for backbreaking work aren't always enough to pay school fees. Ma Yan's heart-wrenching, honest diary chronicles her struggle to escape hardship and bring prosperity to her family through her persistent, sometimes desperate, attempts to continue her schooling. First published in France in 2002, the Diary of Ma Yan created an outpouring of support for this courageous teenager and others like her -- support that led to the creation of an international organization dedicated to helping these children . . . all because of one ordinary girl's extraordinary diary.

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