Elchin Abbasov was born in Lerik province in the village of Erdebile in 1982. There were 9 children in the family; 5 sisters and 4 brothers. Elchin, became interested in the art of knitting from his sisters:
“I got interested in knitting while watching my sisters do the same. I saw them knitting with thread, and my interest was ignited. And in 1994 for the first time I tried my hand at making a belt. It was difficult to find threads and materials in the village. For that reason, in order to learn knitting, I started examining the structure of belts and slowly but surely learned to make them myself.”
Elchin suffered from a strange pressure beneath his eye as a child, for which he came to Baku from Lerik for an operation. One year later, while at home, he fell on top of the edge of the table and lost sight in his eyes:
“Not even one year had passed, when we were playing at home. I wasn’t very careful, and fell on the edge of the table and lost sight in my eyes. I’ve been blind ever since.”
Despite these difficulties, he didn’t lose his passion for the things he enjoyed in life. Starting in 2007, he started selling scarves and hats. But because of the village environment and the lack of work, he was forced to continue working in Baku, where in 2014, he found an apartment for rent and started living and working in the capital.
On arriving in Baku, he went to the Vocational Rehabilitation Centre for Youth with Limited Capabilities, which he had heard about from his friends:
“I went to the rehabilitation center. My goal was to learn music, but they told me that music was not appropriate for my age. For that reason, I signed up for knitting courses. I have learned many things from the center and how to perfect my trade.”
Even’t though he doesn’t have his own store, he has been successful in selling his goods, including scarves, hats and knitted flowers to people on the streets and in parks.
Much of the day he spends in Zabitler garden, but sometimes people take advantage of his disability:
“Last year, while sitting in a park I was knitting a scarf. Some boys came up to me and asked the price of my hats and scarves. I answered them. They left, and came back a little while later, and spoke to me for a bit. Then they left again. Later, when I was leaving, I noticed that of my 11 hats, 3 were missing. I felt very badly after this event, and for days on end was unable to recompose myself. But later, I got back on my feet and continued my work.”
Elchin says that “Even though I can’t see, I generally feel that people are very supportive of me and they warm me with their kind words. People respect me for my hard work and my age.”