The bans on exports of lamb and mutton in Armenia have made Yazidi shepherds, the leaders in the sphere, suffer from the consequences of surplus.
Underpriced Lamb and Wool
The first victims of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, starting in 1988, were Armenian and Azerbaijani refugees. They personally felt the consequences of the war: mass displacement, ethnic violence, etc. More than 360 thousand ethnic Armenian refugees migrated from Azerbaijan to Armenia. Some of them later moved to other countries, but some stayed in Armenia, got citizenship, and began to build their lives in Armenia. During the conflict, some of these displaced people began to exchange their houses based on both oral and written agreements. One settlement that did this was the Mets Masrik village in the Vardenis region, which at the time was partly inhabited by Azerbaijanis. Now, Armenian refugees who migrated from different parts of Azerbaijan live here.
Pieces of Memories
Since Armenia gained independence in 1991, people with disabilities or from socially vulnerable groups found themselves in a vacuum as the new state could not support them any longer. Scores of volunteers and international organizations have tried to fill the gap, helping them to find work and be involved with small businesses, hence providing a sense of purpose and a much-needed income. They are engaged in a wide range of activities from producing homemade food and spices to making handcrafts. Typically, these products are sold abroad through online shops and donor organizations.
The bells of St. Astvatsatsin announce the Sunday service in Heshtia, an Armenian-Catholics populated village in southwestern Georgia. In the churchyard Father Anton Antonyan welcomes devotees, as he has done for the last 20 years. In 1937 Father Anton, Heshtia’s last priest during the Soviet Union, died and the church fell into oblivion for half a century - it was ransacked, sacred items were stolen, and it was turned into a storage space. The bells stopped chiming. With the Glasnost of the late 1980s the churches’ gates reopened also for the estimated community of around 35000 Catholic Armenians. Poland-born Father Joseph Kornashevski was the first priest to serve in the post-Soviet era in Heshtia. The Armenian Catholic Church belongs to the group of the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches and, unlike the Roman Catholic Church, its priests are allowed to marry and have a family. Father Anton is married and has two sons who both serve in the church. The 43-year-old took the votes in his early twenties - he is the 12th priest in his family. For him it is a duty to continue his family’s tradition, and remain faithful to his, and his community’s, ancestors.
The Rebirth of a Family Tradition
Mikael Arustamyan is a teenager on a mission: becoming a mobile game programmer. Such is not at all impossible in today’s world, but challenging, if you are from Mkhitarashen, a village of 100 people in western Nagorno Karabakh. The dream came within reach in 2015 when TUMO, the free-of-charge Yerevan-based Centre for Creative Technologies, opened a branch in Stepanakert, Nagorno Karabakh’s main city. Since then Mikael dutifully travels once in a week to attend classes. “I started to attend the classes because I wanted to learn robotics. Later I moved on to studying programming and went deeper into this sphere, especially in mobile programming,” explains an enthusiastic 15 year-old who, alongside a team of three, developed Save The Bomb, a mobile game where players have to safely remove bombs and overcome challenges to move onto the next level. The game, available on GooglePlay online, draws from everyday, as mines dating back the conflict with Azerbaijan of the early 1990s still dot the region’s hills.
Raising Digital Kids in Nagorno Karabakh
Growing up, Zaruhi Batoyan often dreamt about wearing a dress. As a little girl, her mother used to look at her thin arms and say, “let’s wear long sleeves” since her instinct was to cover her daughter’s body, disabled as she was. “I wanted to wear a dress that would show my shoulders and my arms,” recalls the now 38-year-old activist.
I Have a Disability and I Have Sex
They came by group in trucks; a few people owned one, but most rented them. “Some villagers would rent one truck and offer to transport their neighbors’ belongings,” recalls Michael Gharibyan, 48. “A few Azerbaijanis helped us get to Armenia, so that we were safe on the way here.” As tensions over Nagorno Karabakh broke into a full-fledged war in the late 1980s, Armenians living in Azerbaijan fled to Armenia while Azerbaijanis in Armenia moved to Azerbaijan. Many families exchanged houses and properties.
Caught in Between: Armenian Refugees from Azerbaijan
It is a cold winter day, yet the sun shines over Yerevan. As he lays down his wares for the week, Valery Gevorgyan hopes people will wander into the city’s central Krchi Bazaar and feel like spending money.
Living on the Edge: Homeless in Yerevan
Akhtala’s main square is a microcosmos of Armenia’s social norms. The square, known as the meidan, of this northern town of 2,000 can teem with life as residents mingle to chat and play backgammon and chess - and they are all men. Public spaces are exclusively male kingdoms in small rural towns in Armenia: unwritten rules consider it shameful for women to hang out in the street as well in local cafes. Women face judgement if seen hanging around the square or parks around the town, notes Angela Matevosyan, 59, a member of Akhtala’s women council which is an informal union that implements programme to support unemployed women.