Filmmaker: Zhang Wenqing

The autonomous region of Ningxia in northern China is one of the poorest in the country.

This region is home to the Hui people, one of China's officially recognised ethnic minorities. The Hui are said to be direct descendents of traders who once travelled the famous Silk Road.

Through the centuries these traders integrated with different ethnic groups - the Han, the Mongols and the Uyghurs. The Hui people are believed to be the result.

Arriving in great numbers to these remote desolate lands, they managed to preserve their culture and traditions. Today, the Hui people represent one-third of the population of Ningxia province.

Filmmaker Zhang Wenqing follows farmer Tong Zhanhai and his family in this remote region of China where the people have traditionally lived off the land in self-sufficient isolation.

But the farmer and his wife recognise that they may be the last generation to lead this way of life. As the world becomes ever more connected, they understand that their daughters' education is the key to a better future - even if it means the break-up of their family unit.

Source: Al Jazeera