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 a widow already, when I met her, struggling with fines and waiting for probation from the court for her children panhandling, forced by her husband. All she was dreaming about — to return to her hometown, start over, and do the best for her children.