On Father's Day and every day, UNICEF supports and celebrates all the dads who are working to give children the best possible start in life. Say thanks to the caring dad in your life by sending a UNICEF Inspired Gift in his honor.
Yeo Sargalo Bakari, a farmer in the village of Nambonkaha in northern Côte d’Ivoire, is a loving father of five, but his concern for children doesn't stop there. In his spare time, he's also a volunteer community health worker who screens children for malnutrition and refers those in need for lifesaving treatment.
"Today I'm doing my round of child screening in households," he said on a sunny morning in May. "I live in the village and everyone knows me. I've been doing it for 16 years now. It has become a passion. I've always loved helping people in the community. That's what motivates me. Also the social contact. If I can help children through my advice or if they heal thanks to my referral, then I am really happy."
Bakari is a dad who makes a difference — both in the lives of his own children and those in his community. This Father's Day, we're celebrating dads everywhere who are working hard to help children grow up safe and healthy, even in the most difficult circumstances.
Caring fathers have a lifelong impact
When teachers say "my kids," there's a good chance they are referring not only to the children in their own family, but to all the kids in their classroom.
Father of two Gansonré Amadé Windemi teaches at a school in Kaya, in the northeast of Burkina Faso, where violence between non-state armed groups and the government has spurred a fast-growing humanitarian crisis. He's working to help his students stay in school, despite the challenges.
UNICEF recently provided 486 tablets to schools in Kaya to experiment with the Information and Communication Technology curriculum in education designed to keep children learning in crisis areas.
"I have been teaching for 20 years and finally this can be done in a more innovative way," he said. "It took some adjusting in the beginning. The way of teaching is different. But the students are better motivated, more eager to learn and learn faster. I even have the impression that they like to come to school more.”
UNICEF is there for families in times of crisis
In times of emergency, when circumstances prevent fathers from being able to meet their children's needs on their own, UNICEF is there to provide support and life-changing assistance.
Nelson Jean lost his business and his house during clashes between rival gangs in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He and his family took refuge at a site for the displaced, where UNICEF offers psychosocial care to children who have experienced violence and trauma.
"We were sleeping when we heard gunshots, people were screaming outside," Jean told a UNICEF protection officer. "I couldn't go out because it was still dark. In the morning, I took my wife, my children and some belongings to leave the area, but along the way we were robbed by bandits. I only kept the sheet for the baby."
He did not know if his house was still standing or not.
"Before these clashes, I lived well. I had a shop and business was good," Jean continued. But now, "To feed my family, I have to go begging. It is frustrating because my family and I are not used to living a precarious life."
UNICEF helps fathers give their children the best possible start in life
Being a parent is the most important job in the world. UNICEF provides parent resources and promotes family-friendly policies around the world, calling on governments and business leaders to invest in policies that give fathers and mothers the time and support they need to raise happy, healthy children.