Watch part two
Filmmaker: Steve Nettleton
It was the writing of a 14-year-old girl in western China that gave a voice to countless children in rural China, whose families' struggle to make a basic living often kept them from completing their education, which in turn, might help move their families out of the cycle of poverty.
Now, nearly seven years after Ma Yan wrote her diary, she is marking a new milestone: She is heading to university.
She will be only the second person from her village to receive a higher education.
We catch up with Ma Yan as she prepares to leave her home and move to the next stage of her life.
Ma Yan's Story also looks at how Ma Yan's achievement affects her community and whether it provides inspiration for other rural Chinese girls who may have assumed they could never do the same.
Ma Yan's Story aired from December 31.
Source: Al Jazeera