AGBU highlights resilience and recovery of women two years


New York, Sept. 27, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Almost two years after the 44-day struggle, the Armenians of Artsakh are attempting to revive their lives, whilst challenges persist. Despite bearing the heaviest burdens of struggle and insecurity, women are instrumental in caring and offering for his or her households and rehabilitating the post-war society. 

Two years later, the challenges individuals face on this little-known nook of the Caucasus are solely multiplying. The November 2020 trilateral settlement to finish the hostilities signed by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia redrew the map of the area, displacing 1000’s and making an unsure future within the course of. According to the Human Rights Ombudsman of Artsakh, “Twenty thousand out of the 40,000 internally displaced persons are women, eight thousand are children. Six hundred women were widowed after the war, 12 out of 80 killed civilians were women.” Gegham Stepanyan shared the official information on women affected by the latest battle, including that “the fate of four missing women civilians is still unknown.”

At a primary look, these figures are a drop within the sea in gentle of the worldwide image of a staggering 100 million displaced individuals worldwide.  According to the UN refugee company’s most up-to-date report, nearly one in each 78 human beings on earth is now displaced: 80% are women and youngsters.

Yet not like in different battle zones, worldwide organizations don’t function in Nagorno-Karabakh. To date the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has didn’t dwell as much as its dedication of addressing the issues of the internally displaced beneath the November 2020 Statement. 

Which is why native authorities have needed to primarily depend on their very own assets, and monetary help coming from Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora. The Red Cross and the Russian peacekeeping contingent, deployed within the area simply hours after the struggle, additionally prolonged a serving to hand, offering humanitarian support to native populations.

A quantity of research, together with UN studies, show that women and youngsters are most affected by armed conflicts.

Displaced women have been disproportionately affected by the loss of livelihoods attributable to the struggle. The overwhelming majority weren’t in a position to apply their livelihoods attributable to loss of land, housing and livestock.

“Two thousand women, mainly working in educational and cultural fields, lost their jobs. Women engaged in agricultural work lost both their income source and property,” provides the Human Rights Ombudsman.

Economic empowerment is essential for women to find out the course of their lives and to succeed in their full potential. Meanwhile, women capacity-building packages are primarily being carried out in Yerevan, whereas Stepanakert and rural areas are not noted. The solely program geared toward women empowerment in Artsakh has been carried out by AGBU Armenia for the previous three years.

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Although there are “no registrations of sexual violence due to conflict,” the fitting to dignity is violated in lots of circumstances. For occasion, “a six-member family has to live in a single-room apartment, causing hygiene and privacy problems for women and young girls,” says the 31-year-old Ombudsman. Displaced women search jobs in Stepanakert to have the ability to enhance their dwelling circumstances however the one possibility the labor market might provide them is figure within the service sector, the place a month-to-month wage is beneath 100 thousand AMD (~230 USD).

Still, even with such a low earnings, women handle to dwell and increase their youngsters in Artsakh.

“I’ve become vulnerable after losing my husband,” says Elina Hurumyan, 28, a housewife, left alone together with her two little children: Anush, a 4.5 years previous woman, and Armen, a 2.5 years previous boy. Her husband, Captain Arayik Hurumyan was killed in Hadrut in October 2020. The household misplaced their residence and property as their village, Mets Tagher of the Hadrut area, got here beneath the management of Azerbaijani Armed Forces through the 44-day struggle.

Hurumyan is seeking to the long run. The Government has helped her household to resolve the housing drawback: she at the moment lives together with her two youngsters in a brand new condominium in Stepanakert. The Armenian authorities helps the heirs of fallen servicemen, however authorized points and poverty generally translate to household feuds over useful resource competitors.

Due to the anomaly of the legislation that doesn’t make it clear who the first beneficiary is, the mom of the killed serviceman or spouse, Hurumyan’s mother-in-law obtained the monetary help the Military Insurance Fund supplied for the killed captain Hurumyan, leaving these three with none direct monetary support.

“I feel I want to realize any wish of kids also on the part of their father and raise them the way they are not affected by incomplete family problems,” the 28-year-old widow shares.

However, the hole between a younger mom’s want and her actual monetary capabilities solely will increase as Hurumyan can’t work with little children, in the meantime “children are growing day by day and so are their needs.” The solely earnings of the three-member household consists of the social advantages for kids that make 100 thousand AMD (~230 USD). That’s the place the state social profit coverage in the direction of households like Elina’s ends.

In Hadrut, the densely-forested mountainous terrain that Armenians known as residence for millennia, they owned a small business within the kind of one self-service espresso making merchandising machine.  She remembers with pleasure the moments of amassing the cash together with her husband. “I know how to use it, if I could own one in Stepanakert I can provide some stable income even if it’s small in amount,” the younger mom concludes.

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The lack of financial alternatives just isn’t the one problem that women face in Artsakh. While many women are struggling in opposition to the percentages to each care and present for his or her households after the loss of husbands and male family members, their friends are underrepresented in management positions attributable to male-dominated politics.

As of right this moment, solely two out of the 11-member Government are women (which interprets to 18%), and solely seven out of the 33-seat Parliament (21%). The image is way worse in regional administration or state our bodies: the share of women executives there’s 0%.

“Like anywhere else, working in the shadow of men is challenging for women in Artsakh,” says Irina Mangasaryan, 48, the chief-of-staff on the workplace of the Security Council of Artsakh and one of the few women to carry a prime bureaucratic place.

Women in safety, navy, police and legislation enforcement, specifically, are historically underrepresented and underappreciated. Although many women are engaged in these state companies, they’re primarily entrusted with the work of center and low ranks.

Mangasaryan, a lawyer by career with expertise in authorities work, was appointed to this place after the struggle. “Before the war, I could only see myself in education, culture, but not in security,” explains the chief-of-staff, emphasizing that essentially the most difficult half of her job is working with males subordinating her. “It’s not about women’s leadership skills. We proved we can be multifunctional and deal with multitasking effectively. It’s about the perception of the role of women in leadership positions by men,” she states.

War and battle have an effect on all women, irrespective of their career, place and expertise. Mangasaryan together with her household, son and husband stayed in Artsakh through the 44-day struggle. “When people were forced to flee to Armenia, I had the feeling I will not see them again,” recollects 48-year-old Irina.

However, Mangasaryan agrees with the final notion that women shook off the post-war paralysis extra rapidly than males, since women are extra emotional, which allows them to cope with their trauma faster and to adapt to new realities higher than males, emphasizing that the soil, water and air in Artsakh, the land itself, are giving energy to maneuver on.

Dealing with post-war realities was additionally an incredible problem for Sirarpi Avagyan, a 33-year previous musician, who teaches qanon (a conventional string instrument) on the Sayat Nova State Musical College in Stepanakert.

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“It was a monumental task for a teacher to attract students back to the classroom for national music and culture lectures, given the trauma of war loss,” explains Avagyan, including that her college students couldn’t concentrate on training as many of them had misplaced family members, their houses, all of their belongings.

The musician helped her college students to beat the psychology of struggle loss, whereas coping with the identical strain herself. As the armed hostilities started, she needed to flee to Armenia, looking for a safer place for her three little children: “As we escaped, I could not imagine that I would ever take up my instrument again; I thought the world had ended,” remembers Avagyan, explaining that qanon is about nationwide music and tradition.

It took weeks for her to have a look at her instrument once more. “Now I value my instrument, my work and my attitude toward Armenian culture more than ever,” says the qanon instructor with robust confidence.

But not everybody shares her renewed appreciation. In the previous months, quite a few live shows, artwork exhibitions and different cultural occasions have been going down within the capital Stepanakert and regional facilities. “After a long pause, cultural life is reviving in Artsakh and my students are less depressed, but the attitude toward traditional Armenian music is not growing.”

However, she just isn’t giving up.  She is main by instance to persuade the youthful era of the sweetness, relevance, and therapeutic nature of Armenian nationwide devices and music. Art remedy just isn’t about distraction: it may be a strong approach to categorical and work by ache. To relate to the trauma that her college students have been present process, Avagyan determined to carry out on stage for fallen heroes.

Keeping Artsakh Armenian is the primary precedence for Avagyan. “We are always ready to die for our homeland,” she says. “But more important than that is to unite around our culture, our identity and to live for our homeland.”

For the individuals of Artsakh, meaning dwelling within the homeland, like they’ve for millennia. Despite all odds, women are main that sacred mission.

Originally printed within the AGBU Magazine. To learn the total article with photographs, click on right here. 

By Anush Ghavalyan, Photos by Areg Balayan

  • Elina Hurumyan walks her two youngsters Anush and Armen to kindergarten. Credit: Areg Balayan
  • Irina Mangasaryan is the chief-of-staff on the workplace of the Security Council of Artsakh and one of the few women to carry a prime bureaucratic place. Credit: Areg Balayan


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