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European Journal

Bulgaria: City of the Blind

A district in which only blind and partially-sighted people live - such a place exists in the Sofia. They have to fend for themselves. Their country has forgotten them.

Since the fall of communism, the situation for blind people in Bulgaria has worsened dramatically. The end of the planned economy meant that most of the operations run by the national association for the blind closed down. There was no provision for social welfare. Many of those affected lost their jobs and became beggars. A blind person receives just 50 to 100 euros a month in state benefits. And because many people are unemployed, those who are blind have scarcely a chance of finding work.

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