School director Yunis Mamedov hopes now, since the children have a chance to get an education, life will change for the better in Khinalig.
The children, who experience the difficulties of the nomadic lifestyle firsthand, are becoming more interested in education, Mamedov says, noting that for the last several years more children have been graduating from school, entering the university and receiving a diploma.
“I’m really satisfied with last year’s results. Nine pupils from our orphanage managed to enter the university in 2017. One of them was girl," he says proudly.
Aflatun, 15, Gular, 9, and Kamaladdin, 13, are lucky, compared to other children in the village: while their parents spend most of their time with the family's flock, they support the family and are committed to making sure their children receive an education. They visit the village when they can and call the children once a day. They also try to spend time with the children during the holidays.
“Actually, we were happier when we traveled with our parents. At that time we did not do anything all day but play games. Now, we have to care for our grandmother. She’s old and we help her with the housework," Aflatun says.
Aflatun and his brother Kamaladdin do not plan on becoming nomadic herders like their parents, however.
“Is that really a life?! Now we’re in our warm house, but they have to be out in the cold all day. It is better to be comfortable. We’d prefer to get an education, have our own business and move to the city," he says.
Aflatun believes that they are already old enough to care for themselves, but they do not want to leave their grandmother on her own.
“Our grandma is hard of hearing and she is often ill. I don't think a child should have so much weight on their shoulders," he says.