Moments of Joy

Europe in Figures

Sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, Moldova emerged as an independent republic following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Orgejev is the poorest city in Europe. 26,5% of its population is living below the international poverty line.

Country: Moldova
Photographer: Asa Sjöström
Year of Birth: 1976

Asa Sjöström: “Life in rural Moldova is proving harder than ever. Over the years I’ve made numerous trips back and forth to Moldova, photographing children going about their daily lives there. On my last visit I stayed with the Gradinaris, a fantastic family with six children who perfectly embody the generosity, honesty and pride of the Moldovan people. The father of the family works in Russia and the mother works on the family farm, yet she struggles to find the money for seeds. The children work and help out where they can.

Despite the bleak forecasts for their country, I watched the children in moments of joy. They went on adventures, blew bubbles, created makeshift roller skates and dressed up as princesses. I was struck by how resilient the purity of childhood can be, and the incredible endurance of a struggling nation.”

Åsa Sjöström is an award-winning documentary photographer based in Sweden. Her work focuses on social issues especially concerning women and children. By creating respectful, thoughtful and intimate environments with the people she photographs, Åsa’s mission is to create awareness about these people and the places she photographs.