Nor Aresh, Nagorno-Karabakh
Rosa Sargsyan and some of her children outside their home in Nor Aresh, a suburb of Stepanakert, where the Department of Social Security has housed eight large families as part of their welfare program, which gives free homes to families with more than six children under the age of 18. Rosa, who was given her house in 2009, is 35-years old and a mother of eight children.
Nagorno-Karabakh marked 20 years of self-declared independence in September 2011, yet remains unrecognized by the international community. One of the steps the government is taking in an attempt to achieve respect for the country’s independence, is to encourage an increase in the birth rate, so that the population reaches levels of before the war for secession from Azerbaijan. A ‘birth-encouragement program’ gives cash payments to couples for each child they have. For a young woman to become a wife and a mother, to stay at home and care for her family, is the most honorable and respectable life she can choose for herself.