A young woman who was put on display to raise cash by her grandmother after her face was horrifically burned in a house blaze when she was a baby is finally building a new life for herself after finding a man and having a daughter.
Anya Boldyreva, 30, from the small village of Zhuravka in the Russian region of Voronezh, suffered severe burns to her face when a fire broke out at home when she was only seven months old.
Horrifically scarred, Anya was sent to an orphanage and spent several years there until her grandparents came and took her to live with them.
She told Newsflash: “My grandparents took good care of me, living with them was good.”
But she said the family were very poor and added: “My grandmother and I always travelled around cities, she showed my burned face to people for cash. This was our only way of making money back then.”
Anya admitted that she was very conscious of her appearance and once even tried to kill herself.
She also dreamed of undergoing plastic surgery, but had no financial means to consider it a realistic option.
Anya said: “While I was waiting at a train station with my grandmother one day, I saw another girl with a burned face like mine.
“We talked and I asked her how she got her injuries. The girl was electrocuted. To me, her face looked worse than mine. That day, I realised I was not alone.”
Later in life, Anya got married and try to start again but has been left at the same time that she discovered she was pregnant and gave birth to a daughter.
Anya told Newsflash: “My daughter’s name is Dasha, she is 11 years old. She is used to my face.”
She was also lucky enough she says to have met Alexey, who she is now living with as her common-law husband. Alexey is a farm worker and she says that although the family hardly has enough money for food and clothes, they have each other.
But the couple suffered a further setback when their poor home was hit by another house blaze, although this time she and her family managed to get out unscathed. The fire was caused by an electrical fault and they lost most of their personal belongings.
She has however remained positive and sees this as a sign that she needs to move on still further with her life and start to fulfil some of her dreams.
She said the loss of their home was a sign urging her to move on and that nothing connects her to her small village anymore.
She added: “I will soon go for a free operation in Moscow, but I need money for rehabilitation. A TV show promised to help me get a visa to go to the US and have an operation there, but it never happened.”
She said: “I didn’t study or work. I didn’t even get a job. I have accepted I will never be chosen for any jobs because of my appearance.”
The family is now looking for a new home in a larger town or city where they hope to be able to turn around their fortunes.
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Story By: Feza Uzay, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
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