Rifca says she encouraged Maria to stay in school and not follow in her footsteps but the 10-year-old chose to get married and had her son, Ion a year later. "I am happy to be a grandmother but wished more for Maria."
According to Rifca getting married young is a tradition in the Romanian gypsy culture. Virginity is greatly valued and children are promised from a young age so that the new husband's family can be sure that she is a virgin, who can expect good dowries.
Maria's 2-year-old son Ion, is already engaged says Rifca: "Ion is a good boy - and he is already engaged to a girl aged 8. Boys are always good to have - they don't have to suffer as much girls I think."
Is a 12-year-old ready to be a mother?