“We can’t afford to buy meat even once a month”

Stifled by poverty and pervasive graft and left to their own devices, this family of mentally disabled children and a husband struggle to make ends meet.

“Misery and hunger on the one hand, five mentally ill family members on the other. I don’t know what to do. It’s really hard…”

Teyba Hajiyeva, a native of Hövsan, is 65 years old. Her spouse and four children suffer from mental diseases. The family’s only source of income is the allowance they receive for disability and senility, 440 manats ($381) altogether.

“Drowning in debt”

Hajiyeva got married when she was 22. Her husband Gasham Hajiyev had a congenital psychological illness. She raised his child from his first marriage. Then three of their own babies were born.

“All of my children are mentally ill. Previously I used to work on a farm and as a maid to feed the family. Now I’m old, I’m 65 so no one gives me any job. This is why our only income is the allowance. My son Farzali gets 126 manats ($120) and my daughter Gunel gets 50 manats ($47) in allowance. Half of Farzali’s allowance is spent on his diapers, and the other half on his medicines. I’m so deep in debt that I don’t even know where I will the get money to repay it,” she sighs.

“They want 300 manats to issue a document”

According to Hajiyeva, her son’s condition gets even worse: “When it starts, he destroys the house, breaks the windows, and kicks the fridge and the doors. He broke the door glass more than a year ago. Now we have no money to repair it. He is ill, we can’t explain anything to him”.

She used to have a beautiful good house and a yard. She used to earn some money by selling the herbs she planted herself. But then poverty made her sell a part of the yard:  “They thought everyone was ill, and I’m a helpless woman and they wanted to take my yard away from me. I thought if I die they will send my children to the street. This is why I sold it for little money, which I spent on the kids’ needs. If I had that piece of land now, I’d at least grow stuff and sell it.”

The family’s trials have only increased in recent years. Hajiyeva’s daughter Samira moved in to their house with her two little children. Her husband left her with two babies. He did not even want to give his last name to his children. “Now the children do not even have their birth certificates. Wherever I go to get the documents, they demand money. They say it costs 300 manats ($285) – ‘if you don’t pay, we cannot give you the certificates’. And I don’t have that much money.”

The village mosque used to provide some help to the family suffering from malnutrition. But no one helps them right now. “Haji Akif got ill, he can’t help us anymore. Sometimes our neighbors help us, they bring us some of the food they made at home. We are nine people in the family. It is so hard. We can’t afford to buy meat even once a month. Last time I bought meat was when I received my allowance. Sometimes I think who will take care of this family and children when I’m no longer alive.”

Hajiyeva says she has so much debt as she hasn’t been able to pay for utilities: “If tomorrow they come and cut off our electricity, we will stay in darkness for months. We have almost thousand manats in debt. I’m not even talking about other debts. My sick children, plus two babies, I have to take care of all of them.”

The woman thinks that the government and its institutions are unaware of their problems and that’s why they are not being solved. She believes that if her problems were covered by the media, a solution would be found…

Ana səhifəNews“We can’t afford to buy meat even once a month”