Hope for Cherry Blossom

Conducted in 2013, the project focuses on the difficulties of being a member of the Roma minority and a single mother through the story of Vishna, a mother of 12 and a widow.

Roma is the second-largest ethnic minority community in Bulgaria. Historically exposed to acute social exclusion, many of the Roma in Bulgaria face high rates of poverty, struggle with unemployment, poor living conditions, low-quality infrastructure, and lack of access to other services. This is true of the town Blagoevgrad in southwest Bulgaria, where I met Vishna.

At the age of 13, Vishna was kidnapped from her safe home in Sandanski, where Roma are integrated into society and brought to Blagoevgrad. Soon after she got pregnant by her kidnapper who later became her husband. 

She was already a widow when I met her, struggling with fines and awaiting probation from the court for her children, who were forced to panhandle by her late husband. All she dreamed about was to return to her hometown, start over, and do the best for her children.

Unfortunately, a year later, Vishna was murdered as a result of a femicide. Some of her children stayed with her siblings, mother, and Vishna’s adult children, other have been adopted.