15 of the displaced family of 22 people from Ivanyan village of Askeran region (NK) are children. All of them now live together in a small house in Zorak community of Ararat region (Armenia). They say that they should try to make sure that the family does not disperse and that everyone stays together. As a result of the 44-day war, the family lost 4 men at once.
Two sons of grandmother Nvard and the husbands of two daughter were killed. “We are renting this place with my grandson and great-grandson. My sons were killed in Shushi on November 5. Sasun Toroyan and Artur Toroyan. I moved here after they died. Now I met the families of my other boys and girls here.”
37-year-old Sahak Toroyan, one of grandmother Nvard’s sons, is now trying to take care of the needs of his big family, to put the small and old house in order.
“We were four brothers. Two were killed. During the 44-Day War, our parents came to this village, found a house here and stayed; my sisters and I stayed in Artsakh (the Armenian name of Nagorno Karabakh). I had work to do in Artsakh: I was engaged in agriculture; I could not leave everything. I supported seven families working for me. After the fight on September 19, we all came here to my parents. Now we all live here; we have no other place to go in Armenia… On the 19th of the month, we were in the village, doing our daily agricultural work, the children were at school. When the fight started, we all panicked: we understood that it was a war. We expected men to be called to the proper place where we should be, but no one called us. Then the Russian peacekeepers came and informed us that we have two hours to free the village, that the flag of Azerbaijan should be placed here. We took children’s clothes, came to Stepanakert, stayed in the hotel until September 29, and arrived here on the 30th,” says Sahak.
He remembers that he had not driven his car for a long time due to the lack of gasoline during the blockade, as a result of which it broke down. Sahak had to find another car, but he did not want to transport the children with it. “I thought, the c ar might stay on the road. I decided to send the child by bus. My sister’s older son and I came by car…”.
Sahak’s sister, whose husband was killed in the 44-day war, is a mother of 9 children. She says that it is good that now they are all under one roof, but it is still unclear how they will organize their lives. The point is that both as a mother of many children and as a victim’s wife, Gayane received social support in Artsakh, but, after the events of September 19, all support programs are gone.
Ani Gevorgyan is a journalist, photographer, and the winner of the Freedom of Speech Award. She has participated in photo exhibitions at the UN headquarters (New York) and the Geneva office, the Palace of Europe (Strasbourg), Paris, Rome, Berlin, Vienna and elsewhere.