20th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest People
Light of hope for two young .. shepherds

I met these two sisters,Ginka and Neda, in Bulgaria. They are helping their father, a shepherd and a widower, as they are keeping an eye on the flock of sheep, helping milking and selling dairy products as well . This gipsy family is very poor, they barely make ends meet. The girls also are taking care of the ruins of an old, ancient temple in the pasture area, sometimes visited by tourists who leave a small coin. I saw them exactly in this temple, when they had just finished cleaning the dust and praying too. They stood under the golden light of the falling sun, it’s as if a symbol for a better future. Unfortunately, mostly of the gipsies in Bulgaria are living in misery and poverty. Forgotten by God? No, forgotten by the state and society. Their problems are never on the agenda. They may wait. And so, day after day, year after year. Their father, the old shepherd, explained me how difficult life the gipsy ethnicity have: poverty, unemployed parents, wooden and clay huts instead of normal homes, illiteracy, and to survive , most of the kids are forced from their parents to beg or steal. He also told me that he is working and pushing hard to feed his big family. He wished a good education and even a normal school for his children too but he can not afford it. He assured me that he make everything and he is sure that they will be good people. I really hope for the better future for this family!

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 09.2022
Date Uploaded: 11.2022
Photo Location: Bulgaria
Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Copyright: © Veronika K Ko