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A little known fact of life in China came to light when the diary of a 14-year-old peasant girl made it from a remote town in rural China made it to the bestseller lists in France. The book, which has now been published in 16 countries around the world, tells the story of a young girl who is desperate to stay in school, despite the problem of sky-high school fees, which her parents can not afford.

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1 février 2002 5 01 /02 /février /2002 00:00
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THE LETTER FROM THE NINGXIA/
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Letter 3 - 29 January 2002

Hello,

Thanks for all your messages and for the concrete commitments you have made in them. The sums you have promised will allow us to do, without further hesitation, what we have been talking about for two weeks now : to help Ma Yan to realise her dream of education by concrete measures, and to help a few more children to find their way back to school education - for their own sakes, but perhaps also to avoid jealousies and rancours arising around Ma Yan about this money so suddenly come from outside.
The opening of a bank account for collecting your donations has not been so easy, given that we are not a [charitable] association in the legal sense (the future will show if it becomes necessary to create one), but I have been able to open a bank account under a special name with my BNP bank branch.
My idea is that we should try and send her a first sum by postal order before the Chinese New Year on 12 February - the principal holiday in China, like our New Year and Christmas together. I will then travel there in person, together with my assistant, toward the end of February (it is impossible to go any earlier, partly because of the holidays, and even more compellingly for work reasons - Bush will be in Beijing on 21 and 22 February...). Once there, we will be able to determine how much money Ma Yan really needs, and ascertain if it is possible to set up some modest scheme for bursaries to be granted to some children in her district, with the help of contact persons there.
I will report to you about each step I take in this process, and I will also keep regular account of the sums collected and the use to which they have been put. I will also pass on to you letters from Ma Yan - which we will be asking for, to keep track of her progress in school and her life in general. And I’ll give you an ‘exclusive’ report about my trip to the village, pictures included by email attachment...
I hope that this action plan will be approved by you, and that you find it true to the spirit of our common effort. Please do not hesitate to make comments or suggestions. I have already received some in your previous letters, especially some information on organisations sponsoring children - though alas, none of these has a presence in this entirely forgotten region.
With best wishes
Pierre Haski


P.S. Some more people have joined us since this correspondence began.

 

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