Their other possible life
The protagonists of our story are Vyara* and her two daughters – Rada* (2 years old) and Sophie* (5 years old). Vyara was born 28 years ago in a small and remote village and early on in her life she was left with no parents or any other relatives. Six years ago Vyara met Hristo *. The beginning of their tale was beautiful and happy as any new love. But it didn‘t take long for the fairytale to become a nightmare. Hristo began to abuse Vyara systematically, both physically and mentally before the eyes of their two girls. Desperate, Vyara was on the brink of suicide, but found strength to leave Hristo. She could not allow her daughters to be daily witnesses to her bruises and humiliation.
She found help and protection in one of the very few crisis centers for women, victims of domestic violence. She spent the next six months there, together with Rada and Sophie, gradually and painstakingly recovering from what she has endured. At the beginning she was still on the brink of suicide. She didn’t see any perspectives neither for herself, nor for her children. Without a job or any income, she often thought about going back to her ex-partner, just to have a roof over their heads.
She wanted to find a well-paid job, but she only had a high-school degree. Furthermore, she was the sole caregiver for her two young girls, who would often get sick at this early age, and a lot of employers would not hire her because they worry she would be on sick leave a lot.
This was when Gender Alternatives Foundation stepped in and admitted her into the Chance for the Invisible Super Moms Program of the Bulgarian Fund for Women. Vyara has always wanted to work as a beautician, but has never had the financial opportunity to obtain a license. She enrolled in her dream course and graduated with honors. Her dream of being active and independent, of taking her life into her own hands and being able to raise Rada and Sophie on her own was finally becoming a reality!
Today the three of them live in Plovdiv. The team of Gender Alternatives Foundation helped them find municipal lodgings and assisted Vyara in getting a job. Her new professional qualification gave her confidence and tranquility and she finally believed she had the right and the strength to start a new life.
You too probably know women like Vyara, they live among us, in one of the hundreds of panel apartments. It is hard to imagine what difficulties and obstacles single mothers are going through. You might even know them as strong, resilient women. And they are: they are super-moms, ready to do anything to take care of their children and not abandon them!
But why not offer them some help for a happy new beginning? We believe that women who raise their children alone do not need pity, social welfare or handouts. In the core of the Chance for the Invisible Super Moms Program is the belief that what they need is investment in their education and professional qualification. It is only in this way that we could really help them find a good, well-paid job, to be financially independent and to raise their children with their heads held high. And in giving them this chance, we want to emphasize there’s nothing shameful in raising a child alone. It requires great courage and self-sacrifice, especially when you are exposed to violence and discrimination, extreme poverty and social exclusion.
* The name Vyara means Faith in Bulgarian. The names have been changed but the story is real. Help us continue telling more such stories about strong women and their happy endings. Donate HERE now!
So far, thanks to the financial support of Societe Generale Експресбанк and to the many individual donations amounting to 2100 leva, six super moms have successfully completed courses in graphic design, restaurant management, cosmetics, manicure and Word.
Six more women are going to enroll in courses for obtaining or upgrading their professional qualification. Not only will they have their tuition fees covered but they will receive career consultationс, psychological support, child care for the duration of the course and help in finding a job, thanks to our partners – Gender Alternatives Foundation, Animus Association Foundation, and P.U.L.S. Foundation.
*Author of the image: Vickie Wade