Vishna, 42, was only 13 when she was kidnapped from her safe home in Sandanski, where she was supposed to have a better life as a Roma. She was brought to Blagoevgrad and got pregnant by her kidnapper who later became her husband. Coming from a traditional society, her parents had no choice but to approve the marriage.

All her life she worked as a street sweeper with the salary barely reaching USD 200. She was the only breadwinner in her family.

She was a widow already, when I met her, struggling with fines and waiting for the probation from the court for her children panhandling, forced but her husband. Her older children flew the nest a while ago, and she was left with seven younger ones out of 12. One of them Asya, 14, recently gave birth to a child with mental disabilities. The other young ones are in the boarding school now.

Hope for Cherry Blossom focuses on the difficulties of being a member of an ethnic minority group and a single mother to bring an understanding of the problems Roma face in today’s Bulgaria. 

The project was conducted in 2013.