Mirza’s Flock: A Heartwarming Tale of Passion and Perseverance

Published: Nov 30, 2023 Reading time: 4 minutes
From a young age, Mirza Avdić developed a deep connection with animals. Growing up, he watched his father look after cows, however, he particularly enjoyed watching sheep.
© Foto: Ramiz Dedaković

From a young age, Mirza Avdić developed a deep connection with animals. Growing up, he watched his father look after cows, however, he particularly enjoyed watching sheep. He was drawn to their gentle nature and the simplicity of their lives. Mirza's bond with his sheep became his sanctuary, a place where he could find solace and purpose.  

“He wants to feel that he belongs in society and one with his peers. Mirza’s flock of sheep helps him feel that sense of belonging”, Mirza’s mother, Zijada Avdić, shared.

Despite facing the challenges of an intellectual disability, Mirza has found passion and a source of immense joy in raising his own flock of sheep with his supportive father.

Recognizing his love for sheep and witnessing the joy it brought into his life, Mirza’s family embraced his passion and encouraged him to grow his flock of sheep and look after them. His parents provided him with the necessary guidance and resources to care for his flock, ensuring he had the tools he needed to succeed.

Mirza often shares with the project team how proud he is to have his own job. His ultimate goal is to have more sheep.

"We are filled with immense pride for having invested in seven lambs as the initial capital for Mirza's small business. Witnessing his flock grow to over 20 sheep today is a powerful reminder that his journey is more than just overcoming personal obstacles; it's a reminder that everyone, regardless of their abilities, can meaningfully contribute to their family and community – provided with the support needed to thrive," said Sanja Lepić, Program Manager at People in Need Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Through projects, like My Work, funded by the Government of the Czech Republic through the Czech Development Agency, People in Need has provided economic opportunities, shattered barriers, and empowered people with disabilities.

Growing his business

“Having more sheep means that our family can receive support from the District Government of Brčko. We are working hard with Mirza so that we can achieve his goal of having more sheep”, Mirza’s father, Sakib Avdić, explained.

Mirza’s love for his flock of sheep has allowed him to begin earning a modest living from it.

“We can earn an average of 300 to 400 KM per month by selling the sheep to the livestock market which opens on Sundays”, added Mirza’s father.

Not only do they sell at the livestock market, Mirza and his father would also trade and sell their sheep to butchers to be used for celebrations like Aqiqah and Eid al-Adha.

Mirza learned the intricacies of shepherding, from tending to their health to guiding them through the rolling hills of Brčko. Mirza's sheep became more than just livestock; they were his companions and confidants, and he treated each one with love and respect.

“Although he may not verbalize everything, Mirza is able to act on his own to look after his sheep –as if he knows them individually and can understand them well”,explained Mirza’s mother.

Mirza's connection with his flock of sheep allowed him to express his love and compassion in a way that transcended words and conventional expectations. His passion for shepherding not only brought him personal fulfillment but also inspired those around him.

“For people who are like me, the best thing to do is to support and encourage each other in what we want to do, to pursue our passion and dreams, like taking care of sheep”, said Mirza.

Mirza's journey reminds us to embrace our passions, no matter how unconventional they may seem, and to support one another in pursuing our dreams. His journey is proof of the transformative impact of providing livelihood and economic opportunities for people with disabilities. His story showcases the incredible potential that lies within every individual when given the chance to pursue their dreams.

“We are deeply moved by Mirza's story of resilience and passion. His determination to pursue his dreams despite facing intellectual disabilities is a testament to the strength of the human spirit”, said Sara Miličić, Project Manager for BiH, Czech Development Agency.

“The government of the Czech Republic, through the My Work Project, strongly advocates for providing economic opportunities for people with disabilities. We believe in creating a world where individuals with disabilities are celebrated for their abilities, not defined by their limitations. Mirza's journey is a powerful reminder that, with the right support and opportunities, every individual can unlock their potential and thrive in their chosen pursuits".

About the project: My Work is a 4-year project that supports economic opportunities for people with disabilities funded by the Czech Republic Government through the Czech Development Agency. The partners in this project are the local non-profit organization Sumero, Nešto Više and the ProReha . Czech expertise was deployed to support with the integration of people with disabilities into the labor market with support from the NGO Rytmus.

For more information, feel free to reach out to the Head of Programmes, Sanja Lepić, by email at sanja.lepic@peopleinneed.net or by phone at +387 61 812 232. 

Autor: Johanna Legarta, Communications Manager KHM, People In Need

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