Back to list

Azerbaijan - Tea house

Although Amil (56) had been engaged in various business activities in Azerbaijan – from selling fruit, vegetables and flowers to working in the service sector, – he had been constantly struggling to make ends meet. 

Thus after his daughter had married, Amil set off to Western Europe with the hope of earning some money for the old age. He first headed to Austria where his son had already been living. However, due both to his elderly age and insufficient language skills, Amil did not manage to find a job and thus had to return.    


Before long, Amil decided to try his luck abroad once more. Yet again to no avail. Having reached Lithuania, with no clear future prospects and worried about his wife waiting for him at home, Amil contacted IOM Vilnius and applied for the assisted voluntary return and reintegration programme.   


With IOM‘s assistance, Amil returned to Azerbaijan at the end of April 2010. As he had considerable experience working with clients as well as some unused land next to his house in Uchtapa village near Ganja, Amil used his reintegration grant to open a small tea house. IOM helped the returnee purchase the necessary construction materials, equipment – furniture, dishes, cutlery, – and some stocks of goods for the start of the business. In addition, Amil was taught how to use the newly acquired cash register.


Today the tea house is running smoothly and has a circle of regular customers: it is frequently visited by workers from the nearby cement factory. The small business, which also provides employment for the returnee‘s brother, is the only source of income for the family. Amil does face certain difficulties while re-establishing himself in Azerbaijan: his revenue is still modest and highly depends on the season. As the area is sparsely populated, attracting customers also requires significant effort. Meanwhile, the debts incurred prior to the opening of the tea house must be gradually repaid for relatives and friends. Nevertheless, Amil does not lack in optimism and creative ideas: besides tea, he offers pastries home-baked by his wife and, in the summer, fresh fruit from their garden to his customers. Amil hopes that the completion of the Silk Road highway nearby will result in growing popularity of his tea house and that, as a result, he will be able to successfully expand his business.