“I returned to the village and found my house destroyed, demolished and looted.”
Irina, an Armenian Christian, had fled in September 2020 when Azerbaijan invaded her homeland, Nagorno-Karabakh. The war lasted just 44 days and soon Irina came “home” – but her home was gone and so was her prestigious job as Director of the House of Culture. Now she tries to earn a living as a cleaner.
The Armenian Christian city of Shushi and two nearby villages have been under the control of the Azerbaijani army since that war. They are part of the territory seized by Azerbaijan when it invaded the Armenian Christian enclave, Nagorno-Karabakh. Irina’s village and three other villages near Shushi are still free, although surrounded by Azerbaijani troops. “The soldiers are above our heads,” says Irina, graphically describing their dominating position on the mountain heights around the village, almost directly over Irina’s house.
Sustain Christian families with “bee families”
The inhabitants of these four villages are in desperate need of ways to support themselves financially, since their world changed so radically two years ago.
The area, where alpine flowers thrive, is famous for its honey. Many of the villagers have beehives.
Barnabas Aid is helping 58 families who have few or no beehives by providing five hives per family, each with its swarm of bees – or “bee families” as Armenians say. The increasing volume of honey produced will be sold not only in Nagorno-Karabakh but also beyond its borders.
Irina is one of those receiving beehives. She had never kept bees before but longed to do so.
Will you help our Armenian Christian brothers and sisters support themselves as they struggle to survive and maintain a Christian presence in this historic Christian land?
One beehive with swarm of bees (“bee family”) costs £116 ($139; €136)
Transport for five beehives to one family costs £12 ($13.80; €13.60)