After the collapse of the Soviet Union, homelessness began becoming a major problem for the city of Bishkek. Rural people came to the city in search of jobs and without a stable economy, many were forced to the streets. City official numbers state around 500 homeless live in the city, while NGOs estimate the number to be above 3,500 in 2010.
But numbers don’t tell the whole story. Sitting outside Kolomomto Homeless Shelter in Bishkek, Nadejda Holdova sings to pass the time.
The 69-year-old woman has spent much of the last three years on the streets. In Soviet times, she had a job and a family. But after the Soviet Union crumbled, so did her life. Her husband died and she turned to alcohol for comfort.
Her story isn't unique. Throughout the streets, homeless look for shelter or heated pipes to make it though the negative temperatures of winter.
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