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The fourth daughter of a family that wanted a boy, she was named Gizbes, which means "no more girls". But Gizbes has not let her name define her. Today, at the age of 84, she leads an all-female folk music group that is using talent, courage, and perseverance to preserve the native music of Azerbaijan's Lankaran district. Published with the support of COBERM, a joint initiative of the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the organization Chai Khana and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of either the EU or UNDP.

Video Story client.stories.video_reading: 00:04:01

Grandmas in Azerbaijan find power through singing

Mirbagir Ismayilov


For three elderly women, an Armenian charity has become a safe haven, helping them find joy and music to overcome their loneliness, if only for a few hours a day. Anichka, Emma and Gayane depend on the Mission to Armenia, going every day to eat and visit. For these women, as well as scores of other vulnerable senior citizens, the charity is a safe place to gather, make friends and play music. The music they create together helps them forget their troubles and find moments of joy in their difficult lives. 

Short Documentary client.stories.video_reading: 00:14:30


Merri Mkrtchian


2020 silenced the cacophony of daily life and, in the looming silence, we waited in anticipation for normalcy to return. Sitting at home, we were hungry for stories and our old routines. As it turns out, the year was full of stories that were also hungry--hungry to unfold and be told.   At my house, four foxes enticed me toward the unknown. They will also guide you as you follow my journey, one that requires a dash of humor and numbing grief to understand the year we could have never imagined.

Short Documentary client.stories.video_reading: 00:17:00

With a dash of humor and numbing grief

Lala Aliyeva


When a filmmaker follows stray dogs of Tbilisi during the pandemic, it captures the precarious cohabitation of humans and animals, finding moments of desperation as well as hope. More than 50,000 dogs live on the streets of Tbilisi. Almost all cafes, restaurants, and markets have their own street dog. Since the pandemic started, the dogs have been practically abandoned and hungry. This video documents relationships between residents of Tbilisi and their four-legged friends and found that attitudes about stray dogs were quite diverse. Filmmaker Elena Mikaberidze believes that street dogs are a key trait of Georgia and tell us a lot about how society functions. The video essay ultimately revealed moments of human kindness and solidarity in Tbilisi and the communities that coexist with street dogs.    Director's note: With this video essay, I sought to portray the city of Tbilisi through the eyes and ears of the stray dogs that roam its streets. I started to observe stray dogs day and night. Through the lives of these dogs, a portrait of the city and its residents emerges. The film shows how Tbilisi used to be alive and how it has changed forever. Through my friend Shalva, I learned how difficult it is to follow the stay-at-home rule when the street is your home. How challenging it is to protect yourself and others when there is nobody to protect you. Shalva always says that his dogs protect him day and night.  His experience gave me new hope that a peaceful cohabitation between humans and animals is possible. The city is for everybody and we should share it. 

Short Documentary client.stories.video_reading: 00:13:57

Pure Breed

Elena Mikaberidze