A single-mother in a village of Karabakh – the unrecognized Armenian republic in the South Caucasus – has opened a cafe despite hardships and gossips in her tiny community.  Addiction to caffeine, it seems, is stronger than addiction to patriarchy in Karabakh.

Business lady of our village

KarabakhOpen reports


The people who don’t know Karine cannot believe this lovely girl already has two children. She was very young and in her dreams life was easy and beautiful when she fell in love and left with her prince far away.

But soon Karine got disappointed and had to come back home with two children. Her family did not accept her, only the old grandmother who lived alone and was happy to get a family.

Soon the men of the village learned about the young woman with two children and no husband. And it began. Some stood at her house for hours to say a couple of words which they thought were so wise.
“Nobody dated me and nobody gave me flowers but everyone asked to come in for a cup of coffee. I wondered if there’s not a single café around and why everyone wanted to come in. In fact, there was no café around, and I thought why I could open a café in our yard.”
It turned out that people in Karabakh cannot do without caffeine. Karine could not imagine it would be so difficult. The business is so small but she had to work very hard. She had to study the laws, learn accounting, be the barmen and the waitress at the same time. People gossiped, nevertheless, Café Karine is the only place where one can go, have a cup and coffee and have a chat.


Divorced women, especially with children, are often looked down at in Armenia.  They rarely remarry and have few opportunities for economic success. 

And the question that I have from this story is whether the Armenian feminist movement will also start in Karabakh. 

I know that the word “feminism” scares off lots of people and is often associated with the Western culture.  But as a famous Egyptian feminist once said the history of feminism is found in the history of every culture.  And feminism is not about women being as “vulgar” as many men can get; it is about having the right to opportunity and respect as in the case of the struggle of the lady from Karabakh.