As a teacher, my dad has worked hard to instill in me a love of language and learning. Now, as a writer and editor with World Vision, I get to hear lots of stories of dads who, like mine did, are building a foundation for their children's futures.
The reality is though, that my father has had more opportunities in life than the dads we meet with World Vision. He was the first in his family to get a college education, and has gotten to work in many different places, including Senegal, West Africa!
I know my father would be inspired by the many dads around the world who are caring for their kids in the face of unspeakable odds. So, alongside my wonderful dad, I want to celebrate just a few of those today.
Mongolia: These two remind me of my dad and me, hard at work studying at the kitchen table. Nine-year-old Oolsth is writing to the Australian family who sponsors her through World Vision. In many parts of the world, fathers are supporting their children's learning, even when they themselves cannot read and write as easily. This must take so much love and humility.
Jordan: Twin sisters May and Maya, refugees from Syria, are lucky to have their dad with them in Jordan. Over the past five years, we've witnessed Syrian refugee fathers drawing on all of their strength and ingenuity to provide for their children. Some make huge sacrifices so they can pay for their kids to go to the local school, or to remedial classes in refugee camps.
Ethiopia: Megersa wants to do his best for his six children, and is building his business from the ground up. He took out a loan from World Vision's microbusiness branch, VisionFund, to purchase a single ox. Fifteen years later, Megersa has multiple oxen and a thriving farming business. It's enabled him to send all of his kids to school--and build a new house for them to live in.
Bolivia: The scene may seem traditional, but you're looking at one modern Dad. Lucio went against cultural norms, encouraging his 13-year-old daughter Yuridia to enter high school. There's no school in the family's community, so Lucio arranged for Yuridia to live with an aunt in the city. Because of his brave decision, Yuridia has the chance to carve a bright future for herself.
Vanuatu: When pregnancies happen too frequently, both mother and baby are placed in danger. A dad's willingness to learn about 'birth spacing' can make all the difference. Josef is one of those dads. He attended a World Vision program to learn more, working with his wife to ensure a two-year gap between the births of his children.
Armenia: Sometimes, fathering is shared between two people. Big brother Roman is completely blind, but is determined to be successful in life. What's more, Roman's doing whatever he can to help younger brother Manvel take on the world--starting with learning to ride a bike. The boys' father is unable to walk, and their mother works full-time, supporting the family.
Laos: It's tragic when fathers aren't able to be in the picture--but heartening that grandfathers so often step in. Thongbai is teaching his three-year-old grandson, Kiew, the art and science of growing a garden. The garden is a source of pride, nutrition--and extra revenue. Thongbai says he's happy to be feeding and caring for his grandchildren.
Tanzania: Sometimes, becoming a great Dad is not about toughness, but about tenderness. Mrindwa says that he used to be a father "like a lion." He would come home roaring. His wife used to hide, and his children, scatter. Through a World Vision program called Celebrating Families, he has learned to discuss calmly, and forgive frequently. "I now involve family members in all discussions," he shares.
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