A landlocked country sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, Moldova is the poorest country in Europe. Around one quarter of its 4.3 million population lives on less than $2 a day.
Lack of agricultural investment, trade restrictions and tired social systems are some of the main causes - contributing to the glaring gap between absolute urban and rural poverty rates. Remote rural communities continue to face barriers to new technology, sustainable practices and financial services - binding them to a life of subsistence farming.
An ageing - and shrinking - population intensifies these pressures. Low wages and poor prospects have driven almost a third of people, mainly young adults, abroad, sending money home to sustain families. While many children are left in the care of elderly relatives, a growing number find themselves in orphanages, deprived of love and consistency. Here, the problems associated with a reliance on state care - a product of Moldova’s Soviet legacy - are readily felt.