She is not really a household name, but her large, wistful eyes once looked out from newspapers and billboards all over China.
Now 19-year-old Su Mingjuan, the former poster girl for the Project Hope education charity, is to realize her dream of going to college -- her good grades in this year's national college entrance exam have gained her a place at a top university.
The daughter of a poor farming family in east China's Anhui Province will start the new school year at Anhui University on September 16, said a local official in charge of Project Hope, the country's most influential public welfare project.
In 1991, when Xie Hailong, a photographer with Beijing-based China Youth Daily, went into the remote mountainous areas in Anhui Province to see how Project Hope had helped school drop-outs, Su Mingjuan stood out among her peers with a pair of large, crystal-clear eyes that were crying for knowledge.
That pair of eyes in the picture Xie took, entitled "I want to go to school", have moved innumerable people across China, who have since donated large sums to help children continue their schooling.
The picture has been reprinted nationwide in newspapers, magazines, postcards and billboards and has become a symbol of the country's efforts to promote nine-year compulsory education among all school-age children.
Su, who was born and brought up in a small village in Jinzhai County, has always been a hardworking student, her teachers say. In 1999, she was awarded the national "Star of Hope" by the China Youth Development Foundation, organizers of Project Hope.
Since it was launched in 1989, Project Hope has received over 1.5 billion yuan (US$180 million) in donations from home and abroad. The fund has been used to build over 6,000 primary schools and help 2 million children in China's rural areas stay at school.
(People's Daily September 7, 2002)