“They sold me to a married man for 300 manat…”
Nazila Musayeva is a 39-year old single mother who lives with her son in Barda, a city in central Azerbaijan. She is partially blind and suffers from both cancer and Hepatitis C but says that she could not receive any benefits from the government. It was only after Meydan TV covered her story that she received support from the government.
Given up by her biological parents shortly after birth, Musayeva was adopted by an elderly couple from a small village in Imishli who was not able to have children. Musayeva says they rejected her when they discovered that their new daughter was blind in one eye.
“My stepmother was ashamed of me. She said – Why would I need a blind daughter?”, Musayeva recalls.
As a child, she used to help her parents and occasionally also her neighbors with chores, cleaning the barn, sweeping the courtyard and grazing the cattle. Her parents did not allow her to go to school, and Musayeva says they often beat or abused her, sometimes leaving her without food for several days.
Before passing away, her parents reportedly sold her to a married man for ₼300 ($175).
“He was much older than me. He paid the money, picked me up and we traveled to Baku”, Musayeva says.
She worked in canteens and as a sweeper throughout her pregnancy and the birth of her son, although her husband did not allow her to keep the salary and beat her when she complained.
“There were traces on my face. I hid my face when I went to work because I was ashamed.”
Musayeva tried to flee her abusive husband, taking her son one early morning and returning to her stepparents in Imishli. She begged them not to send her back and let her live with them, but that her stepparents called her husband to come and pick them up.
One day, Musayeva’s husband took her and her son to Barda, saying that he had found a good doctor for her there.
“He told me to wait for him while he went to buy cigarettes. He left and never came back, and I never saw him again”, she says.
She and her son had to sleep on benches in the park for several nights until they she received support from people who found her a job.
As a street sweeper, she earned a salary of ₼123 ($72) a month, which she says was barely enough to buy food. Unable to afford the rent of an apartment, Musayeva and her son slept in the streets for almost a year.
Her time on the street is also when Musayeva got sick. When she finally had enough money to go see a doctor, she was diagnosed with womb cancer and Hepatitis C.
According to her doctors, her condition is so severe that she is likely to die within a year. Even though she is sick and too weak to work, she did not get a pension or financial aid from the government, relying on the help of neighbors and locals who rent a small apartment for them and occasionally bring them food.
Musayeva says she sent numerous letters to authorities, including the Barda district executive authorities, the presidential administration, the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and to Vice-President and First Lady Mehriban Aliyev, but was not able to get any help before Meydan TV made her story public.
The Barda district executive authorities told Meydan TV they were unaware of Musayeva and her situation.
“If she does live in a difficult situation, if she is unemployed and ill, she might be eligible for targeted social aid. We will do our best anyway”, a representative said.
Musayeva’s main concern is her son’s well-being: “The only thing I wish for is to receive medical treatment so that I can stay alive and take care of my child, or that conditions are created so that my son will be taken care of.”
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