July Focus: Nagorno-Karabakh

1 July 2019

This month our focus is on Nagorno-Karabakh and our partners at the Lady Cox Rehabilitation Centre. As the only disability centre in the region, the centre carries out vital work helping individuals with disabilities to live independent lives, whilst simultaneously working to remove the stigma surrounding disability, through exemplifying what can be achieved with training and commitment. The centre has therefore brought about transformational change to people who would have otherwise been isolated and neglected.

History of the region:

As the Soviet Union disintegrated towards the end of the 1980s, tensions grew within Nagorno-Karabakh, a formerly Armenian region which Stalin relocated in Azerbaijan. In 1988 violence erupted between Azeri and Armenian communities in the enclave, eventually leading to full-scale war between the two ethic groups. As a result of the conflict, an estimate of 30,000 lives were lost, and hundreds of thousands of people were displaced.

By the time Russia brokered a ceasefire in 1994, the Armenians had captured sufficient territory to create a viable de facto state, which they describe as the Republic of Artsakh (another name for the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic). So far, no nation, not even Armenia itself, has recognised Artsakh. This has left the state both contending with sporadic fighting along the conflict line and also largely unable to access international funding to support basic services such as medicine.

Lady Cox Rehabilitation Centre:

Now in its 21st year, the Lady Cox Rehabilitation Centre continues to expand the array of services that it offers to patients of all ages. Physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and hydrotherapy are each available at the centre, which now employs 73 staff and treats over 1,000 patients a year.

In supporting an extensive collection of patients, the centre is largely dependant on the Government of Nagorno-Karabakh to provide funding for staff salaries and medicine. HART’s support is equally crucial – as the centre’s only other source of financial support (the autism centre alone has secured funding from an Australian donor until 2021). HART funds crucially cover additional staff costs and pay for day trips and summer/winter camps for patients. These outings are a critical feature of the centre’s efforts to integrate its patients into society, develop patient’s social skills and enhance their confidence and subsequent independence.

Check out our social media and website for more information about our partners at the Lady Cox Rehabilitation Centre, their progress and about how you can help!


Edited by Loretta Sargeant

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