Viktoria Shourkova, a resident of the Gegharkouniq village of Tretouk, has only one dream – to have a home of her own.
Viktoria and her two young children have been living in the partially collapsed basement of a house in the village for the past eleven years.
We visited Viktoria last September and wrote about the conditions in which she and her kids have to put up with. After the Hetq article, one of our readers donated 40,000 AMD to the family. Viktoria used the money to get her kids the essentials they were in desperate need of. There was nothing left for the resolving the housing issue.
Viktoria is a refugee from Baku and her neighbours call her a “girl who has fought: She is proud of the fact that when still in school she baked bread for Leonid Azgaldyan’s unit and then served in Karvatchar.
“I was both a mercenary, a nurse and Acolyte. I have seen awful days in Karabakh,” Viktoria recounts.
Now, she has turned one room of a basement in an abandoned house in Tretouk as the family’s primary living space. Last year, the family was lucky enough to spend the winter at the house of the village school principal. This year, the principal has allocated the house to another.
Viktoria and the kids are forced to pass the hot summer months and the cold winter rains and snow in that unprotected basement. She even gave birth to her youngest in that cellar.
She says that one of the villagers has recently put his house on the market. At first they were asking 500,000 AMD and now the price has risen to 650,000 ($1605.00) Viktoria has set her eyes on that house and really wants it. But she just doesn’t have the means.
Viktoria says she went to the village mayor but was told that his office doesn’t have the financial resources to help her.
Tretouk Mayor Alik Yeghiazaryan agrees that the family is in dire straits economically and that the family is living in squalid conditions.
Yeghiazaryan has twice dipped into the municipal coffers to help Viktoria; each time giving her 20,000 AMD.
“The municipality has annually allocated something from the budget to help out. I’ve also dipped into my pockets to give the family something,” says Mayor Yeghiazaryan.
The mayor says that the house where Viktoria and the kids are now living used to be in decent shape but that Viktoria’s mother started to tear the place apart for wood to burn. Over time, the house just weakened and started to collapse.
“I want to do something, but the municipality is in no position to allocate anything from the budget for the house,” says the mayor. “I am thinking of how to find some financing from somewhere, even it’s my own personal resources. Just so long as that person finally has a house. It’s impossible to live in that cellar.”
Mayor Yeghiazaryan confesses that every time he sees the place he feels miserable.
“That’s no way to live in the 21st century,” he says.