Ilham recalls the time being displaced from his village in 1990s

Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: Life after displacement

Article 23 November 2021 Azerbaijan

"Our house of culture united everyone in the village. Villagers and school children spent their spare time there. This place was famous for its vocational courses. We also had a folklore dance group "Gulu Bulagi" which participated in festivals and dance contests. This folklore group was the pride of our village because it represented our village on TV — Ilkhichlar in Aghdam," recalls Ilham who was displaced from his village with his family in the early 1990s, in connection with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict".

Ilham and his wife Parvana raised their two sons in Ilkhichlar village dreaming about their kids' bright future. This was until they had to leave their home and temporarily live in tents. Ilham was a student in Turkey when his family had to leave their home several times between 1992 and 1993. Every time he came back from studies it was hard for him to find his family's location as they were fleeing to different places for shelter.

"Imagine waking up one day and everything you owned, the village you were born and raised in, the people you meet every day and work with, your neighbours, your plans, your house, your garden, and the environment you were living in, disappear in one night. It was like a nightmare," sighed Parvana.

In the difficult times of displacement, 1994 was yet another year of loss for the Huseynov family. Ilham's brother went missing in relation to the conflict, and Parvana's brother was killed in the battlefield.

Despite all these memories they carry through the years, Ilham and Parvana managed to survive the bad moments of their lives. They built a house in an IDP settlement and started a new life from scratch. They raised their kids in this house where they have been farming, gardening and vineyarding for almost 30 years. Now, they have everything they had once lost in the 1990s.

Ilham rebuilt the culture house in the village in which he's residing with his family. This culture house hosts dozens of villagers where they can practice their art skills, perform in dance groups, and enjoy the books of the library in their spare time.

"Vineyarding is a traditional hobby of my forefathers. Our family was known for vineyarding, and it became a tradition to cultivate vines everywhere we lived. When we fled here, the first thing I did was growing the vineyard along with this wonderful garden," Ilham said proudly.