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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.


15 novembre 2005 2 15 /11 /novembre /2005 00:00
Laurent Parzy is the captain of the team "Children of Ningxia" which ran in Hong Kong's Trailwalker race this year. He explains why he decided to run for the second consecutive year in this gruelling race aimed at supporting humanitarian causes.

"I am a Science teacher at the French International School and I was introduced to the actions of the association “ Les enfants du Ningxia” by my colleague Anne-Marie Bordas.
The story of this association starts just like a marvelous fairy tale for children. “Once upon a time….” a young girl called Ma Yan was living in the village of the isolated province of Ningxia in the north of China.  Her family was very poor and could not afford to pay her school fees. Ma Yan wanted to study because she knew that education is the only thing that can help her out of her misery. She had written all her rebellious thoughts in her notebook. Her words were first read by a French journalist Pierre Haski who then made her story known to the whole world.  He edited Ma Yan’s Diary and many volunteer workers came to his help to set up the association “Les Enfants du Ningxia” and the funds started to arrive…
Now, Ma Yan continues her studies and hundreds of children of her region can go to school or college.  Thanks to the association, their living condition and their schooling facilities are improving every day.
This story is so beautiful and cannot leave any teacher or parent indifferent.  My daughter and my son have participated in a trip with their classes to Ningxia in 2004 and 2005 respectively.  These yearly trips were organized by their school.  They met Ma Yan; and they brought with them stationeries, clothes and money for the children in the region.  Those were trips to exchange, to discover and to share that had opened the conscience and spirits of the young learners as witnessed in the articles by the students.
Last year, I have accepted to commit to the Trailwalker race under the name of “Enfants du Ningxia” with 3 other colleagues and parents.  This race of 100 Km is organized by Oxfam each year to raise funds to finance humanitarian actions all over the world.  Our team “Enfants du Ningxia” has brilliantly finished the Trail in less than 24 hours, thanks to a magnificent moral, human and material support.
I have decided to renew my participation this year under the same colours of “Enfants du Ningxia” with a new team.  My 3 other teammates are: Regis Jouan, Sebastien Hesri and Frederic Thierry d’Argenlieu.  Our objective this year is the finish the 100 Km race in less than 20 hours and to raise as much funds as possible.
We will start our race from Sai Kung country park this Friday, November 11 at 11:00am and our team will bear the number 459.
Laurent Parzy
Captaine of team “Enfants du Ningxia”

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15 novembre 2005 2 15 /11 /novembre /2005 00:00
Anne-Marie Bordas, a chinese-language professor at Hong Kong's french international school has been the key person in organizing her school's support to Ningxia and to mobilise for the Trailwalker race. She wrote this article for the Hong Kong medias.

"As a Chinese Language teacher, I have always believed that my duty is not confined to just teaching the language skills.  It is also my responsibility to encourage my students to understand Chinese culture and to discover the realities in Modern China.  Nevertheless, with my limited knowledge and resources, I have more ambition than strength to execute all my wishes.  I can only be contented that I am always trying my best.
I have lived in China for 7 years during the eighties and was naïve enough to think that after the formation of People’s Republic of China, all Chinese children would be able to go to primary or secondary schools. To my great disappointment, I have learned that reality is not as such.
When Pierre Haski, representative of French Journal “Liberation” visited Hong Kong French International School in 2002, he gave us a conference on the fate of Ma Yan and other young girls in Ningxia.  I felt very surprised, I could never have thought that with China’s open foreign policy and new market economics, education could become a commercial undertaking and this in turn can lead to so many children being deprived from proper schooling.
What is even more annoying is that most of those who are deprived from education are girls. Aren’t women considered as equal as men? How can we let 15 or 16 years old girls get married and start to raise children? How come in this area there is no birth control policy?
I have discussed with my colleagues and students, we all agree that a well-off school like ours should do something to help these children.  But we knew that we could not react impulsively.  Could we really help them?  What should be the best way? At that point we did not have clear cut answers.
Soon after, we have started to communicate with the students from Yuwang, Ningxia. Then our school organized many activities like social evenings and homemade cake sales to raise money.
Since 2004, I have been making a yearly visit with teachers and students from our school to Yuwang Secondary School, Zhangjiashu village and Magaozhong Secondary School in Ningxia. Our objectives were to further understand the situation of the students and the villagers; to learn about the lives of the Muslim people and to keep communicating with them. Besides, we also wanted to educate our students that no matter who we are, regardless of our status, nationality and age, we can all do something for other people.  So that when our students grow up and have their own career one day, they will still remember that in China or elsewhere in the world, there are deprived people who would be needing help.
Last year and again this year, Oxfam allow our school to form a team to participate in the trail walker event, it is another way for us to raise public awareness so as to help these lovely children in Ningxia.
Anne-Marie BORDAS"

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20 juillet 2005 3 20 /07 /juillet /2005 00:00
Her name is Yan Xia, and she was born to a poor peasant family in the southern Ningxia village of Zhang Jia Shu, also Ma Yan's birthplace. Yan Xia is now proud to be the first girl from her village to enter university in september after successfully passing her entry exam last month. She's also the first youth supported by our foundation to reach that level : Yan Xia has received a scholarship of the Children of Ningxia for the past three years, and we're very happy she's made it to the top.
Yan Xia has chosen to study telecom at the University of Ningxia, in the regional capital of Yinchuan. And she will continue to be supported by the Children of Ningxia association to pay for her college fees. We hope many more students will follow her path and help uplift this empoverished region.

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8 juin 2005 3 08 /06 /juin /2005 00:00



The Diary of Ma Yan continues its world tour! It's just been published in the US by HarperCollins, the 17th foreign edition of this book that has moved mountains and changed lives, and not only Ma Yan's. If you live in the US, please let your friends know about it.






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7 octobre 2004 4 07 /10 /octobre /2004 00:00
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Support the team of Enfants du Ningxia at Hongkong’s Trailwalker !

On November 5 and 6, a team bearing the colors of Enfants du Ningxia successfully took part in the famous Mac Lehose Trailwalker race in Hongkong. This grueling 100-km race, organised yearly by the british development NGO Oxfam, is aimed at raisong funds for humanitarian causes.
Our team was made up of two teachers and two parents of pupils at the French International Lycee of Hongkong, who had volunteered to follow the tough trail in the New Territories, the zone in northern Hong Kong, directly bordering on mainland China. A support team largely made up of other teachers and parents from the french lycéee had been set up to provide logistical and sanitary support for the team. Deep thanks and congratulations to the volunteers thus combining a sportive challenge with one of active solidarity.
The ‘MacLehose race’ was the occasion for us to publicise the presence of the Association in Hong Hong, around our two ‘pillars’, Diane Michaud et Evonne Tsui. I joined the team doing the walk in mid-October for a photo sesssion and for an encounter with the Chinese language Hong Kong press, which devoted a number of pages to this initiative as well as to Ma Yan’s story and to the work of our Association.
This race can only be successful with active sponsorship. If you wish to support our team before or even after the race, you can contact our Hongkong representatives at the following e-mails :
Diane Michaud : bigzora@netvigator.com
Evonne Tsui : evonnetsui@yahoo.com


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