“If your children’s lives are precious to you, leave the area, leave. This area belongs to Azerbaijan.” Armenian Christians in parts of Nagorno-Karabakh have been getting voicemails like this.
Taghavard village was split in two when Azerbaijani forces invaded the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020. Half the village, including the church and cemetery, is now controlled by the Azerbaijani military, as well as hundreds of hectares of orchards, pasture, vineyards and arable fields. Around 720 people were displaced. To reinforce the threatening voicemails, village buildings are set on fire every week or two – the school, the kindergarten, private homes.
Despite the intimidation, 164 brave Christian families are still living in Taghavard. But it is hard for them to get an income after so much farmland has been taken from them.
Pig-rearing is a traditional occupation in Taghavard, but most of the 164 families have only one pig. Barnabas Aid is providing two piglets for each family, a male and a female, to give a boost to their pig-rearing enterprises.
Elsewhere in Nagorno-Karabakh (inhabited by Armenian Christians for many centuries) other remnant populations have also lost large areas of farmland now occupied by Azerbaijani troops. Some of these families have suitable conditions for sheep-rearing and Barnabas is giving three ewes each to 128 families who want to start sheep-farming.
Will you help our Armenian Christian brothers and sisters support themselves as they struggle to survive and maintain a Christian presence despite having lost so much?
One piglet costs £78 ($92; €91)
Transport of two piglets to each family costs £4 ($4.75; €4.70)
One sheep costs £108 ($128; €127)
Transport of three sheep to each family costs £5 ($6.15; €6.10)