Xinlan Ma – China

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

She says: “I have tried to use my own example to educate and inspire children and their parents. The force of knowledge is great and I hope to change the extent of poverty in my home village through knowledge”.

Read: Education in China: Reforms and Innovations, page 111.

Xinlan Ma - China r80p.jpg.

Xinlan Ma – China

She works for the Weizhou Hui Women’s Primary School.

In 1952, Ma Xinlan was born in a Muslim family in Weizhou, Tongxin County, Ningxia Autonomous region.

Most of the residents in Weizhou are of Hui nationality, and believe in Islam. Apart from the geographical remoteness of the area and its lack of educational resources, the native popular custom was that girls older than nine could not show their faces in public, or make contact with strangers, or go to school with boys. Thus few girls went to school there. When Ma Xinlan was six years old, a young woman teacher came to the township. Ma’s father, who was a traditional doctor, happily agreed to send her to the school where the woman was teaching. This teacher became a model for the young Ma. “When I grow up, I will become a teacher too,” she made up her mind.

In 1965, Ma graduated from the primary school. At that time, only four girls in the township, including her, finished primary school. Ma was accepted by Tongxin county middle school with high scores. Though there was a long distance of 80 km between her home and the township, she never found it tiring or hard. With the Cultural Revolution reaching even her village, this dream was broken. She had to leave the school for the poor yellow soil of home. Probably being blessed by her strong wish of being a teacher, in 1971, she was lucky to find employment as a village teacher, with a monthly income of five yuan, when positions were available in the county. She was 19 that year.

In 1985, under the requirement of the local religious people and the concern of the education department, the Weizhou Hui women’s primary school, disbanded 30 years ago, was re-established. Ma, who had taught for 14 years, was assigned to be the headmistress of the school. But the job had problems: the new site of the school was nothing but two low mud rooms surrounded by weeds and rubbish; looking through the un-glassed window, there was nothing in the rooms. She and the other five teachers dug up the weeds, removed the rubbish, rebuilt the shabby classrooms. There was no fund for desks and chairs, and they borrowed from other schools; there was no money for teaching facilities, they had them made with scraps from people in the township. On Sept 1, 1985, the Weizhou Hui women’s school started its first semester, a small but significant event.

Because of historical, social and traditional reasons, the percentage of local Muslim girls who attended school was less than 20, while the percentage of those who quit school after the third or fourth grade was as high as 80. For many years, Ma advised and persuaded them one by one, and her efforts paid off.

Presently the percentage of local school-aged Muslim girls attending school has increased from less than 20% to above 98%, while the 80% rate of dropouts has changed to 95% remaining in school.

Ma organized trainings that combine vocational knowledge and cultural knowledge for those elder girls who did not have the opportunities to study. Making do with very minimal funds, she invited teachers from Tongxin County to give lessons. From her acquaintances, she obtained donations of books for the library of the women’s primary school.

For days and years Ma has been single-mindedly working for education. She supports the development of education for minority girls not with money, but with her heart. There is still a long way to go in developing women’s education in western China but Ma is well set on that road. (1000PeaceWomen).

Ma Xinlan ist Direktorin der Mädchen- Schule der Hui in der Ortschaft Weizhou, Kreis Tongxin, im Autonomen Gebiet Ningxia der Hui- Nationalität. Als sie 1965 die Grundschule absolvierte, war die Grundschulbildung in der armen gebirgigen Ortschaft noch nicht allgemein durchgesetzt, und aufgrund konventioneller Auffassungen konnten viele Mädchen die Schule nicht besuchen. In Wenzhou war Ma Xinlan das einzige Mädchen, das die Grundschule abschloss. Als die Mutter beschloss, die in die 75 Kilometer entfernte Mittelschule der Kreisstadt zu schicken, versuchten die Nachbarinnen, sie davon abzubringen. Für Mädchen schickte sich so was nicht, die sollten zu Hause auf die Heirat warten, hieß es. Die Mutter blieb jedoch bei ihrem Entschluss. (full text).

Sorry, I can’t find more informations about Xinlan Ma, China, in the Internet, being sure it is the wanted person.

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