Father’s Day is coming up this month, and UNICEF wants to celebrate dads from all walks of life, so we went around the world, capturing the daily life of different dads and their children. From Rwanda to Paraguay, meet three different dads who are working hard to raise their young families.
Christophe and Kevin – Rwanda
Christophe, 42, works as a tea plucker for the Sorwathe Tea Factory & Plantation, in Kinihira sector, Rulindo District, Northern Province, Rwanda. Thanks to support from UNICEF, Christophe’s two year old son Kevin attends an Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre, which provides on-site care for the children of Sorwathe employees. It also incorporates an outreach program that provides parents with valuable information on nutrition, hygiene and other parenting skills.
"I didn't feed Kevin's older sisters when they were small," Christophe says. "I didn't play with them as babies or ever take them to the health facility. We thought of those things as a mother's job." These days, Christophe takes an incredibly active role in the upbringing of his youngest child, thanks to education he has received through the ECD. "Now I realize that the most important role of a father is to ensure the well-being of your children," Christophe says. "That means taking care of them and making time for them — making certain that they don't fear you and they are open to you. There's nothing more important than playing with your child; it helps with their brain development."
Abdo and Paula – Paraguay
Abdo Gonzalez, 35, works for telecommunications company Tigo, along with his wife in Fernando de la Mora, part of the metropolitan area of Asunción, the capital of Paraguay. Their 14 month old daughter Paula attends a UNICEF-supported ECD daycare on the Tigo corporate campus, which allows both parents to hold full-time jobs, while also spending time with their daughter.
In the modern world, where women are part of the professional workplace, Abdo feels that it’s a father’s responsibility to take an active role in parenting. “Since men and women both work, now it’s time for both parents to share roles — for balance. For me, the most important part of the house is the kitchen, so it needs to be spotless. At home, I clean and Milargos [his wife] cooks. I would cook more — I mean, I think men can and should cook—it’s just that I’m no good at it.”
Jahirul and Jisha – Bangladesh
Mohammad Jahirul Islam, 28, lives in Narayangonj, outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, with wife Moshumi, 21, and their three year old daughter Jisha.
Jahirul, a firefighter, is soft-spoken and eloquent. He works long hours — 12 per day, six days a week — but says that the highlight of his day is returning home at 8 pm to read stories and practice the alphabet with Jisha. “I play with her whenever I can. We play ball or sometimes just draw flowers in the dirt with a stick. Her favorite book is about a child who travels around the world,” says Jahirul. “My father was a farmer and a businessman. He didn’t have time for the kids — we didn’t play much. He was only focused on his work and there was domestic pressure and fighting at home. We were poor, and it was always tense,” he recalls. “As a father I think it’s very important to educate her so that she can grow up and have a better life than we did,” says Jahirul of Jisha. “It’s vital that she gets proper nutrition so she can focus on her education.”